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Written By: - Date published: 12:28 pm, May 19th, 2016 - 114 comments
Categories: climate change, energy, Environment, global warming, human rights, International, Social issues, sustainability - Tags: , , , , , ,

If Portugal can go from 50% electricity generation from fossil in 2013 to 100% electricity generation from non-fossil now (less than three years later) then what’s all this talk in New Zealand around whether it’s unrealistic or possible for New Zealand to achieve a paltry 90% of fossil free electricity generation by 2025?

Update. This isn’t really an update – it’s just a reiteration of the reality. We have around 15 years to be completely free of fossil…There are no ifs buts or maybes on that front. Yet those words…if this, but that, maybe the other… are all we seem to bloody well hear from industry and government.

Why do we permit those inadequate and deceitful ‘no can do’ arguments to see the light of day? Seriously! I’m confused. Would we just sit back if a government sought to justify… Hell, no suitable comparison comes to mind.

The fact is that we are just sitting back while government and industry justify actions and inactions that absolutely accumulate to deny us, our children and further generations a whole range of possible and worthwhile futures. Very odd.

114 comments on “Portugal ”

  1. Kevin 1

    If electricity generation was still government controlled this would be a piece-of-piss. Now that you have shareholder owned utilities, no poli is going to incur the wrath of shareholders, many off them foreign, to force change on the industry.

    Throw in the TPPP and it basically becomes impossible.

    • Chooky 1.1

      +100…jonkey nact should be held clearly accountable for this rort of New Zealanders and unneccessary unaffordable electricity bills

      ‘The growth of solar energy and what’s leading cutting edge technology’


      ‘Don’t rush into solar, says Electricity Authority’


      ‘Solar energy ‘biggest challenge’ to electricity pricing says EA’


      “The Electricity Authority says a massive uptake of solar technology will be bad for other consumers. It wants lines companies to start thinking about changing the way it charges consumers for distributing power from the grid – saying if they don’t they will encourage a lot of investment in solar panels – which will be bad for those who don’t have them as they’ll be picking up more of the cost of maintaining the networks. Carl Hansen is the Authority’s chief executive.”

      • aerobubble 1.1.1

        Are power price rises due to lobbying by electricity companies who want to price in the cost of paying out to private homes who produce electricty? thats the way it looks, we all end up funding battery infrastructure that energy companies end up owning. if only there was a way yo run a cable to the neighbor and supply them but the meters are made for bug electricity not multiple suppliers, smart meters but no smarter.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2

        From your first link:

        “There’s a big tension because we can’t do without the grid right now and the grid costs money and the people who own the grid want users to pay for that.

        And they want the user to pay for their homes, cars, holidays and everything else all without them actually doing anything.

        And it sounds like the Electricity Authority is pimping for the newly privatised power generators who’ve just realised that they won’t be able to rort the rest of us for much longer.

      • Huginn 1.1.3

        Hi Chooky
        The electricity markets (and by ‘markets’ I mean that in the general sense ie not as privatised entities) are very, very complicated. Some say that they are the most complicated of all.

        For example, we need a network of lines and we also need excess capacity available at all times in case of an emergency. (This is the argument for retention of coal btw) These are best provided for by the public sector and paid for out of taxes because the private sector fails to produce goods and services that we need as a collective with a future that goes beyond our own individual time lines.

        Solar challenges the current market structure in ways that we may not fully understand.

        I think we should read Carl Hansen’s comment as a clumsy warning that the current market structure will fail to deliver essential services if there’s widespread uptake of solar. It’s a call for carefull regulatory review and reform.

        Markets are made by human beings, not by some invisible entity. We need regulatory reform, and we need to take great care.

    • Bill 1.2

      So we slam into something like a +4°C future that we cannot adapt to because… ‘shareholder’; because ‘wrath’. Jesus wept.

    • TC 1.3

      As designed

    • Draco T Bastard 1.4

      Throw in the TPPP and it basically becomes impossible.

      Probably one of the reasons National rammed it through so fast.

    • Macro 1.5

      ^^^^^ THIS
      Have always said it but Kevin beat me to it today. 🙂

      • Bill 1.5.1

        What? You’ve always said that ensuring shareholder contentment, avoiding their ‘wrath’ and playing the game as set out by market fundamentalists who’d have us abide by a venal (so-called) trade agreement, outweighs securing a reasonable, some might say ‘livable’, future?

        And you share that bankrupt mentality with a smiley face?

        • Macro

          I’ve never said what you say I have said bill – quite on the contrary. The selling off of our infrastructure to off-shore interests did what the allies spent thousands of lives in bomber raids trying to do to Germany in WW2. We lost control of our ability to manage our energy requirements in a sustainable manner.

          • Bill

            Oh. I thought you were in emphatic agreement with Kevin.

            Anyway, ownership and control are interesting concepts. What use is ownership if you have no control? And on the other side of the coin, what’s the point of ownership if you have or take control?

            • Colonial Viper

              In the capitalist system you can be a (part) owner and receive financial benefits (dividends) even though you have zero control of the enterprise.

              Or you can have zero ownership, like a CEO, and use your control of the enterprise to greatly personally profit, eg. via the “control fraud” scheme described by Bill Black.

            • Draco T Bastard

              You know, I think that you’ve misread what Kevin said.

              • Richard Christie


              • Macro

                Yes I thought Kevin was quite clear there saying having sold off our interests in electricity generation we have lost our ability to determine our electrical generation mix. This loss of, what in military terms is called, “national power”, is compounded by National’s insistence on ratifying the TPPA (which has no clause which would allow a govt to consider Climate change to be taken into consideration in drafting legislation). So the proposal put forward by weka that a future govt could legislate say, that all generated electricity is to be renewable by say 2020, would be open to ISDS dispute.

                • Gosman

                  Nonsense. The Government has multiple options available to it including legislation requiring greater renewable generation, taxes on non renewable options and incentives such as tax breaks or subsidies for new renewable sources. The State does not have to have 100 percent ownership to drive change.

                  • Macro

                    You clearly have no conception whatsoever of the impact of the TTPA on a Government’s ability to legislate.
                    Furthermore, had the Bradford “reforms” not taken place NZ would now be 100% renewable and Huntly would be long gone. Power companies such as Genesis and Mighty River are the ones resisting the change to renewables not driving it.

          • weka

            Say we had a left wing govt, or a competent rw one. What’s to stop them from legislating to ensure all electricity generation is renewable by x year? It’s not like they’d have to renationalise (which is what they should do).

            • Macro

              What’s to stop them from legislating to ensure all electricity generation is renewable by x year?

              A thing called the TPPA.
              and ISDS

              • Gosman

                Article 20:15 of the TPPA text specifically states that the agreement does not stop nations from implementing measures to move to a low emissions economy. You are scaremongering.

                • Paul

                  Ah, the defender of global multinationals arrives.

                  • Gosman

                    What are you writing that reply on Paul? I suspect it would be a device provided by a global multinational company.

                • Macro

                  yeah right!

                  The chapter does make an oblique reference to the issue by discussing emissions in Article 20.15 (Transition to a low emissions and resilient economy). The word “emissions” encompasses a broad set of pollutants, and undoubtedly makes the chapter more palatable to climate sceptics in the US Congress and elsewhere.

                  The Article states that the Parties recognise the need for collective action in order to move to a low emissions economy. Paragraph 20.15.2 provides a list of areas in which parties may cooperate to move towards this goal, including clean and renewable energy sources, reducing deforestation, and emissions monitoring.

                  In other words: all talk, and no action. There is nothing binding in the provision.

                  • Macro

                    What started as weak language about climate change in a November 2013 draft of the environment chapter, fizzled into two wholly impotent and embarrassingly thin paragraphs. In the draft, the opening
                    paragraph read: The Parties acknowledge climate change as a global concern that requires collective action and recognize the importance of implementation of their respective commitments
                    under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its related legal instruments;

                    However the final text removes the words “climate change” and all reference to the UNFCCC so as to deliver pure platitude: The Parties acknowledge that transition to a low emissions economy requires collective action.
                    And a second paragraph that recognised a relationship between trade and climate change and the need for coherence between policies for these was removed entirely. Each of the above changes were initiated by the US in a counterproposal to the November 2013 draft, via a note circulated to TPPA governments shortly after the draft was issued. Subsequently,
                    even text that simply “recognized” parties “commitments in APEC to rationalize and phase out over the medium term inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” was abandoned.

                    from https://tpplegal.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/tpp-environment.pdf

  2. Lanthanide 2

    Portugal was able to run 100% renewable energy for 4 consecutive days.

    I’d imagine that if NZ has 90% of electricity generated by renewables, that we also would have ‘cherry-picked’ time periods where we could run on 100% renewable energy for 4 consecutive days.

    In other words, this post is disingenuous in comparing Portugal’s recent good luck with an annual figure projected for NZ in 2025.

    Or in more basic terms: you’re comparing apples with oranges.

    [The post lifted the information about Portugal from the newspaper report that you can read through the link. If you’re going to accuse me of shit on this, you need to know that you’re skating on thin ice and that I’m in no mood to tolerate crap today. Your observations might be valid enough, but you’re being well advised to target your accusations appropriately] – Bill

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      I’m not sure what you think I’m accusing you of?

      I’m pointing out that you’re drawing a very long bow, by comparing something (Portugal runs on 100% renewable electricity for 4 days as stated in the newspaper report) to an annual National goal of 90% renewable electricity in NZ by 2025, and you are saying “if Portugal can do it today, why are we going to take until 2025 to achieve only 90%”.

      All of that is your argument, not what is written in the newspaper. So I am targeting my “accusations” appropriately.

      If you actually read the article, you will see that they say that in 2015 Portugal generated 48% of its electricity from renewable sources. NZ is already at around 80-85%.

      I would expect that New Zealand already regularly runs for 4 consecutive days on renewable energy, but no one reports it because it’s not newsworthy.

      To further reply to your question:

      then what’s all this talk in New Zealand around whether it’s unrealistic or possible for New Zealand to achieve a paltry 90% of fossil free electricity generation by 2025?

      Firstly you’re comparing apples with oranges (4 days of consecutive power usage, vs an annual average production). Secondly just saying “Country A can do it, so why can’t we?” is a pretty poor argument, because you haven’t even tried to examine what Country A is even doing, or what challenges we might have in emulating their “success”.

      For example, Portugal has much higher population density than NZ. That means that each dollar of investment into energy production goes a lot further than it does in NZ. Portugal also gets a lot more sun than NZ does, again making it easier for solar to work in that country.

      • aerobubble 2.1.1

        Surely its all a big distraction since its the private auto mobile that needs to be made extinct, not humanity.

        • Lanthanide

          Yes, focussing on annual national electricity production and driving us from 85% to 100% is foolhardy, since by far most of our emissions come from transportation and farming, not electricity production.

          • weka

            Huntly needs to close. For emissions reasons, for the symbolism that will then generate further change. And because it’s the right thing to do.

            By all means lead the charge on transport emissions, the arguments will be similar (as to why we can’t).

            I would have thought it would be easier in NZ than in other places because we can theoretically use hydro for storage.

            • Bill

              Huntly should have shut down yesterday. And while we’re at – Fonterra….

              I’ve added the empahisis in this piece by Rosemary Penwarden in the ODT of 22nd April this year.

              I was in Waimate to oppose Fonterra’s plans for a 10-fold expansion of its Studholme milk processing plant, including two new coal-fired boilers designed to burn coal beyond 2050, the time when climate scientists insist our carbon emissions must be zero if we are to have a thread, a scrap, a skerrick of hope to stabilise the world’s climate.


              But we were in Wonderland, where I’ve been forbidden by law to speak about climate change at an RMA hearing.


              • weka

                Would love to know how that ban on referring to climate change came about. Eg is that routine or did Fonterra stipulate that? Those hearings need some big noisy placards outside.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Sounds like the Roman Senate not being able to talk about the barbarians at the gate.

          • Andre

            But eliminating our remaining fossil fueled electricity is reasonably easily achievable, we’ve got plenty of capacity for more renewables. Even factoring in that reducing transport emissions will almost certainly increase electricity demand.

            It’s not a matter of saying “we’re looking ok already in this area so we’ll look elsewhere”, we need to grab all easily achievable reductions as quickly as we can, and start working hard on the more difficult emissions.

            • weka

              +1 esp for the people that think electric cars are going to save the day.

            • Bill


              And where the Lanthanide’s of this world point to ‘the advantages’ other places allegedly enjoy, as though that excuses NZ from doing the hard yards… if we don’t have the sun, use wind. If we don’t have the wind, use tidal, if we don’t have the population density, decentralise the grid…and so on.

              In other words find the solutions instead of whispering “impossible, impossible”.

              • weka

                We could use less power too. What if we dropped 20% of supply and just relied on the 80% renewable? Not only impossible but sacrilegious!!

                • GregJ

                  I believe New Zealand’s energy efficiency is poor being one of the lower in the OECD and has been for the past 50 odd years. However we saw how even a very basic policy attempt to improve energy use and efficiency was attacked and vilified so I don’t hold out much hope that the present government will be interested in any major energy conservation and efficiency effort.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    However we saw how even a very basic policy attempt to improve energy use and efficiency was attacked and vilified

                    Blame shitty poor comms, inept PR, and short sighted political management by Labour 5.

                  • weka

                    Energy efficiency at what level? Why do we rate so badly?

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Because every civilised country was using double glazing and electric subways 30 years ago.

                    • GregJ

                      I think it covers everything from National Energy intensity (the amount of energy consumed in a country divided by national GDP), efficiency of generation and transmission, building insulation and energy intensity (square metres divided by consumption), energy efficient appliances & energy use in transportation.

                      For example energy efficiency with buildings includes:

                      *Insulating the “envelope” or “shell” of a house or commercial building to prevent heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer.

                      *Low U-factors and shading/solar heat gain coefficient for windows. The solar heat gain coefficient measures the fraction of solar energy transmitted, indicating how well the window blocks heat from solar radiation.

                      *Efficient lighting. Minimum standards for high-efficiency lighting, lamps, and/or lighting controls are included in some building codes.

                      *Efficient heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems to ensure that energy is not wasted from inefficient equipment.

                      *Proper design, position, and orientation including occupancy and time of use, daylight potential, indoor environmental quality standards, equipment and plug loads, acoustic quality, safety, and security.

                      *Air sealing (residential buildings only). Getting rid of air leaks throughout a home, (around windows and doors, roofs or attics, basements, and crawlspaces), which reduces the loss of heated or cooled air.

                      It’s a pretty detailed area of expertise but it’s not new stuff and there is plenty of international efforts NZ could easily build on and adapt.

                    • weka

                      Thanks Greg. I’d like to know to what extent the energy efficiency changes in NZ new house builds has been offset by houses being larger. Double/triple glazing and insulation are crucial, and yet we think we can build bigger and bigger houses.

              • Lanthanide

                And where the Lanthanide’s of this world point to ‘the advantages’ other places allegedly enjoy, as though that excuses NZ from doing the hard yards

                No, I wasn’t pointing it out as an excuse, I was answering your question:
                “, what’s all this talk in New Zealand around whether it’s unrealistic or possible for New Zealand to achieve a paltry 90% of fossil free electricity generation by 2025?”

                The reason Portugal could do this is because they get a lot more sun than NZ does, and comparatively the cost of installing those solar panels is cheaper due to economies of scale.

                In other words find the solutions instead of whispering “impossible, impossible”.

                If your goal is to phase out all carbon fuels in a very short time, sure, it’s not impossible. It’s just very expensive. And whether you like it or not, this country runs a neoliberal economic policy where we don’t have unlimited money to pay for any infrastructural whim that we have, no matter how convenient that might be to achieve your aim.

                Jumping up and down on the side lines pointing out that Portugal ran for 4 days consecutively on renewable energy doesn’t change that reality.

                • weka

                  “The reason Portugal could do this is because they get a lot more sun than NZ does, and comparatively the cost of installing those solar panels is cheaper due to economies of scale.”

                  But NZ has a lot more hydro. If NZ had supported the solar industry, the costs would be way less by now. Ditto wind. There really is no excuse other than that people don’t think it matters enough.

                • Colonial Viper

                  we can have unlimited money to do these public works, if we want it.

                  • Lanthanide

                    I’m not convinced.

                    But I did +1 your comment at

                    • Colonial Viper

                      cheers, Lanth.

                      if you’re really concerned about introducing new money, the government could always borrow $150B in depositors savings to do the required public works with, and give them IOUs in return.

                • Gristle

                  The last time I looked the antipodes of NZ runs from the southern end of Spain and on into central France. As such the sunlight levels Portugal recieves must be the same as much of NZ. I take it that science is not your strong suit.

                  • Pat

                    average sunshine hours Portugal in region of 2500, NZ around 2000…..cloud cover will explain difference

                  • Lanthanide

                    I did my research, perhaps you should next time. See my comment at

            • Lanthanide

              It’s not a matter of saying “we’re looking ok already in this area so we’ll look elsewhere”, we need to grab all easily achievable reductions as quickly as we can, and start working hard on the more difficult emissions.

              Which is precisely my point. It’s the law of diminishing returns – going from 80% renewables to 90% renewables is likely to be more difficult than going from 5% electric transport to 15% electric transport.

              Instead of focussing a lot of time and attention on trying to eke out a little more in the electricity industry, we would be better served by focussing on the big low-hanging fruit of transportation. That can be coastal shipping and railroads for a start, and other transportation policies as championed by The Greens.

              • weka

                Where is the extra generation going to come from for the electric cars?

                • Lanthanide

                  Off-peak charging, eg overnight, when the hydro plants et al *have to keep running* and the power is sold for cents.

                  I’m with Flick Electric, who pass on the wholesale rates directly to customers. They have a transparent pricing system, so you can see exactly where all the costs go. In Christchurch, the minimum cost is 6.2c per kilowatt hour – which goes towards Flick’s margin, and the network charges etc. On top of that is added the price of the generated electricity.

                  A few weeks ago there was a half hour period overnight where the price was 6.2c. In other words the generated electricity itself was free.

                  Normally overnight prices at around 9-10c, compared with 15-35c during the day.

                  • weka

                    Does that means that during the night hydro is generating power that doesn’t get used? What happens to it?

                    • joe90

                      Does that means that during the night hydro is generating power that doesn’t get used? What happens to it?

                      Lake levels, mostly, – downstream generators need water for peak loads so upstream generators run off peak to deliver[water] and below cost electricity.

                • Pat

                  think we can safely say we are not going to replace our current fleet with EVs on a one for one basis

                  • weka

                    qft. Always good to get the electric car crowd thinking about what’s actually involved.

        • Gosman

          No. It is the private automobile that has unacceptable emissions that needs to be phased out. Private automo biles that don’t do this are not a problem.

        • Gosman

          No. It is the private automobile that has unacceptable emissions that needs to be phased out. Private automo biles that don’t do this are not a problem.

      • weka 2.1.2

        If you actually read the article, you will see that they say that in 2015 Portugal generated 48% of its electricity from renewable sources. NZ is already at around 80-85%.

        citation for the NZ figure? I thought it was 70%

        I would expect that New Zealand already regularly runs for 4 consecutive days on renewable energy, but no one reports it because it’s not newsworthy.

        What are you basing that on?

        • dv

          Wiki NZ 79.9% renewable

        • Lanthanide


          Sidebar states renewable share at 80%.


          Unfortunately it doesn’t state the share of wind, but gas and coal account for 19% together with Diesel only being run “occasionally”. Geothermal + hydro = 73%.

          So ~80% seems accurate from that, too.

          What are you basing that on?

          An assumption, based on maths. It may be that we *always* have a gas plant running somewhere, so we never get 4 consecutive days. I don’t know.

          But we’re doing a lot better than Portugal anyway, since our annual renewable production proportion is almost twice their’s.

          • weka

            Cheers. My assumption is that is we were ever reaching 100% the govt would be crowing it from the rooftops. Would be good to know how close we get .

            • Lanthanide

              “My assumption is that is we were ever reaching 100% the govt would be crowing it from the rooftops. ”

              Unless it’s been happening for a long time, and it’s just business as usual.

      • Bill 2.1.3

        To steal the appropriate wording from the header of Anthony’s post. “Glib words and false hope aren’t going to cut it”

        I don’t care what challenges there are if they are just going to be thrown up as excuses for doing nothing. And I don’t care about a few thousand shareholders crying into their coffee or whatever because a few bucks eluded them.

        By 2030, for an outside chance of preserving a viable, somewhere around +2°C future, New Zealand, along with all other Annex 1 countries (developed nations) needs to be completely fossil free…in electricity generation, in transport, in….everything. No gas. No coal. No oil or any of its refined combustibles.

        Do you have difficulty comprehending that rather simple fact?

        In the face of reality, a ‘maybe’ target of 90% renewable electricity by 2025 simply isn’t acceptable. And neither are defeatist, essentially denialist lines. Fuck the hand wringing apologist shit and the avoidance shit.

        That video presentation I link in the post (it’s under the ‘no if, no buts, no maybes’ text). Watch it is you’re having difficulty getting your head around stuff.

        • Colonial Viper

          But where’s the political analysis of how to make it happen in democratic NZ?

          Crying out that this or that is not acceptable is not a political analysis.

          You’d think that 300,000 Kiwi kids going cold and hungry more often than not would be “unacceptable” to the body politic.

          But apparently, it is.

        • Lanthanide

          To steal the appropriate wording from the header of Anthony’s post. “Glib words and false hope aren’t going to cut it”

          Ironic, because it was you who was trumpeting Portugal’s continuously running on renewable energy for 4 days as if it was some breakthrough watershed moment, when actually only 48% of their annual electricity is sourced through renewable sources.

          Do you have difficulty comprehending that rather simple fact?

          No, I don’t. I agree that we should move away from a carbon economy. Should we do this at *any* short-term cost? No, that would be stupid, because the *FACT* of the matter is that even if NZ was 100% renewable energy for electricity and transportation tomorrow, we’re still going to suffer from climate change caused by all of the other industrial nations. That’s a fact, as unhelpful or upsetting as that may be, it is the ‘face of reality’. So transitioning away from carbon fuels at *any* cost is stupid.

          My point in my reply at #2 which you didn’t seem to grasp, is that championing Portugal for running for 4 days on renewable electricity is a pretty stupid thing to bring up if you’re trying to convince people that NZ should move to 100% renewable fuel. It’s not convincing at all, and I think it does more harm to your position than it helps.

      • peterlepaysan 2.1.4

        How so that Portugal gets a lot more sun than NZ does? The latitudes are so similar that Portugal is the antipodes of NZ.

  3. Tory 3

    Clearly Portugal didn’t have the caliber of Labour MP’s like NZ had, to sell off power companies. Thanks Roger, Richard and your other Labour “Hall of Famers”

    • weka 3.1

      Prebble, Douglas and co weren’t Labourites. They were an infestation of parasitic behaviour from your side of the fence.

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        Of course they were Labourites.

        The same kind of Labourites who banned left wing unions and black listed war protesters in the 1940s.

        • te reo putake

          Say what? That’s a pretty weird claim, even for you, CV. Got a cite?

          • Colonial Viper

            Which part? The Labour Government fucking over the Carpenters Union because it was communist, or the Labour Government threatening and black listing anti-WWII party members and public servants?

            • te reo putake

              Technically, the Carpenters Union is only a singular example, not ‘unions’ as you wrote, and it wasn’t actually banned. However, it was rather effectively replaced by a more compliant ‘yellow’ union. Still interested to hear about the black lists. What can you tell us about them?

              • Colonial Viper

                So, have you found anything on the First Labour Government interning hundreds of anti-war Kiwi conscientious objectors for indefinite sentences yet?

                • te reo putake

                  So you have nothing? Fair enough, then. Two claims, both wrong. About par for the course.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    it’s very amusing you consider those major Labour Govt events “nothing”.

                    People who are genuinely interested in how Labour treated anti-war protesters and also how Labour consistently shut down left alternatives in NZ can continue to do more research as there is a lot of material out there.

                    Clearly, TRP can’t handle the truth. But that’s par for the course.

                    • What is nothing, CV, is your ability to substantiate your claims. You are confused about terminology, history and politics. If you genuinely believe that Fintan Patrick Walsh and Roger Douglas have anything in common politically, then you have rocks in your head.

                      But, as you gleefully pointed out recently, you’re no left winger, so your ignorance can probably be forgiven. Your failure to substantiate your baseless claims is less forgiveable, however. It’s intellectually weak and morally gutless.

              • adam

                So the actions of Walter Nash in 1951 helped the watersiders. He didn’t even challenge the government of the day over the starvation tactics. This helped the Tories stay in power till 1957, and of course Nash then led a bloody terrible government.

                Open your eyes te reo putake learn some history. Labour is not the party of Bread and Roses any more.

                Tomorrow comes the song, with labour, no more, no more.

                • weka

                  Are you saying that Labour by the late 70s was controlled and directed by people like Prebble and Douglas?

                • Adam, you might well think Nash helped the watersiders, but that is not the case. By 1949, the first Labour Government had run out of steam and the reformers of the thirties were no longer in control. In opposition in the early fifties, Labour failed to act in a united, coherent way, which was clearly helpful to the Nats. It might be argued that the leadership and directional difficulties of Labour post Helen Clark somewhat mirrored that period.

                  But all this is way off topic for this post. My original comment was to point out that CV was talking shit, as usual. His failure to offer up any evidence to back his assertions indicates that he realises that he got it wrong, so job done.

  4. esoteric pineapples 4

    Nights’ Bryan Crump on National Radio interviewed Gareth Gretton about generating energy from tides a couple weeks ago. Turns out Cook Straight is one of the best places in the world to do this due to its fast flowing currents which turn around every 12 hours. We could easily be producing massive amounts of energy from this but we have a government a) without the vision b) that protects its cronies who would lose out from energy competition


  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    I figure that NZ could be completely fossil fuel free in about 5 years – if we put in the hard work. Of course, quite a few businesses would go under but as they’re a major part of the problem that shouldn’t concern us.

    • Rocco Siffredi 5.1

      Isn’t that what Stalin said about the kulaks?

    • srylands 5.2

      Well I hope you are leading by example and you have purchased your electric vehicle.

      There is no scenario I have seen developed that has zero emissions for the transport fleet by 2030. So what are you on about?

      • Bill 5.2.1

        If there is not zero emissions from energy generation and all transport by 2030, then we’ll be wistfully looking back at a +2°C ‘might have been’ from the vantage point of +3°C… or a +4°C world that’s beyond adaptation.

        That you haven’t seen or heard of any business led, or government led, scenario that would achieve what needs to be achieved, is one of the points of the post.

        I’ll give you a different link to the one in the post lest you have any doubts about what we need to do. It’s from 2012 and obviously prospects have diminished since then. (Visual kicks in after a few minutes)

        And by the way, electric cars aren’t a solution unless they can be manufactured (problematic) and replace all petrol and diesel driven vehicles within the next 15 years. On top of that, there’s shipping and aviation…

      • Draco T Bastard 5.2.2

        Well I hope you are leading by example and you have purchased your electric vehicle.

        I haven’t owned a vehicle in ten years – unless you’re going to count my bicycle.

        So what are you on about?

        The fact that we need to develop a plan to cut all ghg emissions and enact it.

  6. Rocco Siffredi 6

    “If Portugal can go from 50% electricity generation from fossil in 2013 to 100% electricity generation from non-fossil now (less than three years later) then what’s all this talk in New Zealand around whether it’s unrealistic or possible for New Zealand to achieve a paltry 90% of fossil free electricity generation by 2025?”

    The answer lies in one word.


  7. b waghorn 7

    You city Fullas should turn some lights off at night , why street lights have to blaze allnight is beyond me.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Having said that its peak time use of power which is problematic

      • b waghorn 7.1.1

        When the dams a full maybe so , but imagine how much less water would need to be used for generation if even half the urban lighting was shut off after 9 pm

    • Draco T Bastard 7.2

      Because people use the streets all night.

      Besides, I’m pretty sure that the lights are turned off for a few hours in the mornings.

      • b waghorn 7.2.1

        Cars have lights and I bet next to no one is walking around the suburbs late at night ,
        Use your best grumpy old man voice for this next bit
        “No good comes from people out all night. “!!!

        • weka


          Women will take a different view on turning off street lights. I’d target all those businesses in town that have light blazing when not open.

  8. Colonial Viper 8

    Portugal has 5GW-6GW worth of operational thermal power plants (natural gas and coal):


  9. GregJ 9

    The milestone was definitely important symbolically, particularly as an example of how generation can be turned to renewable sources and in a surprisingly quick amount of time.

    I thought one of the more interesting parts of the article was the % that wind power was playing in a number of European countries:

    In 2015, wind power alone met 42% of electricity demand in Denmark, 20% in Spain, 13% in Germany and 11% in the UK.

    New Zealand is only generating 5% through wind and the growth is very slow. 1000 GwH was added in generation between 2005-1010 but that growth has halved from 2010-2014/5. Given New Zealand’s prime location (sitting in the Roaring Forties) for wind generation our lack of progress here is pretty damning – yet it is something we could turn around quickly with a proper strategic focus (perhaps we should consider putting some wind turbines on Huntly as we phase out the coal).

    • Rocco Siffredi 9.1

      Denmark has the highest electricity prices in Europe, closely followed by Germany. Both are close to double most other counties in the EU. Funny that.

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        If you have a point to make, please make it.

      • GregJ 9.1.2

        The cost appears to be as a result of high taxes (56% of the cost is because of taxes).

        From Wikipedia:

        “Denmark has mediocre electricity costs (including about DKK 5 billion in costs for cleaner energy) in EU for industries at 9eurocent/kWh, but general taxes increase the household price to the highest in Europe at 31eurocent/kWh.”

        Denmark however is one of the best countries in the EU for energy security.

        This also might help: Euro energy stats explained.

        • Pat

          would be worth noting that as we improve efficiency of use and increase personal generation the costs are going to be spread over a smaller pool….whether we transition or not…..and as usual those least able to afford will be left carrying the increased costs.

      • Draco T Bastard 9.1.3

        Hey, that may be why Germany is the worlds most energy efficient country. Isn’t that what pricing is all about? Encouraging efficient use of scarce resources?

        • Lanthanide

          Funny that sometimes you believe economic theory, eg pricing encourages efficient use of scarce resources, but then other times you completely deny that competitive advantage exists, eg that it makes more sense for NZ to produce milk and sell it and buy computer chips from America, than for NZ to attempt to produce those same chips itself.

          Note that pricing and efficient uses of resources is actually the other side of the coin of competitive advantage.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Yes, I do understand the present economic hypothesis and its shortfalls. I don’t believe in it though.

            But I do so like throwing it in the face of RWNJs when they prove that they have NFI about it and yet claim/imply that it as the ideal.

  10. Katipo 10

    The loss and privitization of the profitable public owned electricity generators has been an epic failure. The sector used to be full of skilled and inovative engineers and technicians, it is now full of mercenary contractors, sales people and over-paid execs who are more concerned with preserving ‘market share’ and luring customers away from rival providers, they have no incentive to encourage us to use power more efficiently, even worse the government has to fund another entity to try and combat their inherent greed.

    • Philj 10.1

      Can anyone explain how multiple electricity retailers and the army of marketing staff and executives is a more economical and ‘efficient’ way to provide electricity for consumers. It’s a rort and an epic fail for the consumer and a success for the corporate power brokers. The so called government is a sham for the powerful. It’s so self evident people can’t see it. Dissaponting and disturbing.

  11. Colonial Viper 11

    Update. This isn’t really an update – it’s just a reiteration of the reality. We have around 15 years to be completely free of fossil…

    To be clear Bill…are you saying in your ‘update’ that we need to be completely free of fossil fuels in our power generation in 15 years.

    Or that we need to be completely free of fossil fuel use altogether in 15 years?


    OK Bill just saw this from you which pretty clearly explains it:

    By 2030, for an outside chance of preserving a viable, somewhere around +2°C future, New Zealand, along with all other Annex 1 countries (developed nations) needs to be completely fossil free…in electricity generation, in transport, in….everything. No gas. No coal. No oil or any of its refined combustibles.

  12. Philj 12

    The b#####s will charge us for our own solar power, roof water and air. What next, a Dimocracy tax? 😉

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