Bluerush – coming hydro or not

Last week, Eloise Gibson in the Herald wrote about the sometimes tough choice between renewable generation and other environmental concerns; and on the same day The Press editorial made a strong call on the matter – that “Unique landscapes should always come first ahead of desires for more electricity. If we have to turn off lights and heated towel rails to save something special and irreplaceable…then turn off and go without we must”. Strong stuff, suggesting that those in the heartland are now echoing Green thinking.

The Herald and The Press were both talking about wind-farms, but the arguments hold for hydro too. And last week, Contact confirmed its intention to pursue four ressurrected hydro proposals on the Clutha (the river that the Clyde and Roxburgh dams are on). It seems hydro is suddenly economic again – the bluerush is on.

Jeanette Fitzsimons says [RadioNZ podcast] that we don’t need to “go without” as such to avoid sacrificing our rivers, but be smarter in our use. We can use what we have more efficiently, conserve unnecessary energy wastage, reduce the demand by doing commonsense improvements like insulation, industry can make more use of co-generation (e.g. coal mine gas, dairy effluent and woody biomass), and we can also build some new generation from geothermal, wind, some hydro and in the future, wave, tidal, solar….

So the question we should ask is not “do we need power and will a Clutha dam provide it”, but how much new supply do we need, what are the other options, what are the relative environmental impacts of dams and other generation sources (e.g. can we restore the environment if we end up not needing them), are rivers renewable given there are a finite number, and how much value does the public place on our remaining rivers.

It should be remembered that we have already committed a great number of NZ’s rivers to hydro (50-70% of generation comes from hydro), and many more to other landscape modification and water degradation (agriculture, sewage, etc) and at some point we may wish to protect what remains.

Here’s a lovely campaign video of the Clutha to engage the heart as well as the head if you are so inclined.

106 thoughts on “Bluerush – coming hydro or not

  1. Here is a very nice lake, which is generating 100MW.

    I think if we’re to get to 100% renewable electricity and start replacing direct use of fossil fuel with renewables, we need to build a fair bit more hydro and wind. Conservation isn’t going to get us there alone, especially if it consists of turning off lights and heated towel rails. I’d recommend David Mackay’s excellent book Sustainable Energy – Without the hot air, in which he calculates than more efficient heating (in cold Britain) could save 10KWh a day, while energy efficiency would save a mere 2KWh a day. (Out of a total 125kw/h per day).

    Also, a wind farm doesn’t degrade a landscape for longer than the wind fram is in place. When it isn’t needed it can be taken down and recycled. Dams can also be removed and the landscape restored, should one wish.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  2. What is wrong with a hydro lake?

    Lakes are serene.

    We can have some wild rivers, and some hydro lakes. Both useful, and bot pretty.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  3. (Hydro lakes are on rivers – can cliffs be on motorways)

    What’s wrong with a cliff?

    Cliffs are spectacular.

    We can have some motorways, and some cliffs. Both are useful, and bot pretty.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  4. The false argument is that only a wild river is aesthetically pleasing. If you dam it, then it is no longer aesthetically pleasing.

    Not so if you like lakes. The added bonus is you get power generation. Win-win.

    If you leave the river as is, you don’t get power generation.

    Not sure where you’re going with cliffs, Greenfly, but whatever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  5. Who is making the ‘false argument’ you cite, BP?
    “If you leave the river as it is..”
    You might ‘get’ (to keep) a whole lot of things that would be lost, were that river dammed.
    Imagine, BP, if there were an alternative source of electricity that didn’t affect the river at all, say… a wind-turbine! Wouldn’t that be grand! Power for the people and an untouched river. Win-win indeed!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  6. Or tidal power? I’m sure you could get a few gigawatts out of Cook Strait if you tried. Fully dependable, fully predictable, great location in the centre of the country. Attached to the sea floor so no significant environmental effects.

    Tell me why aren’t we doing this already?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  7. Here we go again. A string of Noddy Landers pontificating as though the Mainland exists solely to power their x-boxes and home theatres.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  8. >>wind-turbine! ….tidal power

    Sure.

    Cost/benefit analysis, please.

    >>power their x-boxes and home theatres

    And our pools…..

    Why South Islanders think they live in a different country is anyones guess.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  9. >>Who is making the ‘false argument’ you cite, BP?

    It is implied by the video and “Unique landscapes should always come first ahead of desires for more electricity”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  10. I’m curious to see the cost-benefit analysis for tidal power. It’s fairly early on in its development, but logically it makes a huge amount of sense. As I said – totally reliable (the moon isn’t going anywhere), totally predictable (up to years in advance) and a great location in the middle of the country. I have heard that Cook Strait has some of the strongest tidal current in the world – ie. potentially one of the best locations for tidal power generation in the world.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  11. bp, there are plenty of streams in the Waitakeri’s that could be damned to provide Auckland with electricity with minimal transmission losses. Alternatively a low dam across the Petone foreshore to flood the Hutt Valley won’t inconvenience anybody really important.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  12. Wind, wave, tidal and solar photovoltaic generation are all good ideas. However none of them are despatchable. They generate when their resource is available, which is not all of the time. To meet demand which peaks at other times, other generation is required. Geothermal and hydro with storage are two renewable generation forms. Of these, peak generation is cheaper to meet using hydro.

    All the Clutha options will increase the total hydro storage, both by their own lakes and by storing more water upstream for use by other generators downstream. New Zealand’s current hydro storage corresponds to about 5 weeks average demand. We could do with more.

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  13. “Unique landscapes should always come first ahead of desires for more electricity. If we have to turn off lights and heated towel rails to save something special and irreplaceable…then turn off and go without we must”.

    There is no such thing as a ‘non-unique’ landscape. Every vista in the world is unique, so every vista must be preserved. No dams, no wind-farms, no homes, no factories, no nothing? No people?

    Tell me about this place you want us to live, where everything is the same a nature made it. Where there is no electricity. Where mankind is absent so as to not make progress and develop science and technology that create comfort and safety.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  14. Tell me why aren’t we doing this already?

    Harder than it sounds, but i’d advise typing “cook strait tidal power” into Google for a start.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  15. Strings:

    I lament that for those, like yourself, who don’t accept that animals can have rights independently to humans, what chance is there that Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic can be given any serious consideration?

    Not surprisingly, anthropocentrism is virtually the universal credo of our species. It is now generally accepted that humans can do anything they like to the rest of the planet (and beyond) provided it is deemed beneficial to mankind. But of course ‘beneficial to mankind’ can be rather subjective. So we usually get given what the most powerful groupings of humans decide what is best for us….. or more precisely what is best for those groups. The utilitarian desire of greatest good for greatest number is either cynically cast aside or cleverly manipulated to thwart any major opposition to the perceived progress of mankind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  16. strings – taking an idea to its extreme doesn’t invalidate the original idea, it just makes you seem an … extremist.! Try taking the sensible approach and seek to understand what was meant by the person making the original statement. Then discuss the ramifications.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  17. Trevor29 said: We could do with more.

    We could also do with less, Trevor. Or we could do with what we have got now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  18. anthropocentrism is virtually the universal credo of our species.

    I think it is universal in most species actually. At least most of us don’t urinate to mark out the extent of the land that we claim exclusive domain over!

    Be it individually or is collectives most animals, including man, have an instinct to establish eminent domain over territory and protect/defend it against all comers.

    Nature is. That is the reality of our existence; and when the homo-erectus experiment is over, nature will start again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  19. >>taking an idea to its extreme doesn’t invalidate the original idea, it just makes you seem an … extremist.!

    The same could be said of the green position. We’ve got many rivers, so stop throwing your toys whenever anyone suggests damming one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  20. One ?
    Whenever someone, anyone suggests damming a river, ‘we’ should… adopt a supine position? At which point, Blue, do you think the party that bases itself on principals of environmental protection, should we speak out? When one river is tagged for damming? 10 rivers? 100 rivers? Do tell.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  21. I think you need a more balanced position.

    Hydro is a green power source, yet you’re always positioning against it. Makes you look like extremists….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  22. Off-topic, but this place is bound to be full of good advice :)

    I’ve just planted a raised vege and herb garden. I’m using pine needles to keep the slugs away. Any other tips for keeping bugs from eating the plants?

    I want to have an organic garden. See if I can do it without any chemicals.
    Any advice?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  23. OT – Coffee grounds work in our vege garden. And a beer trap (although one member of our family has an issue with wasting good beer on snails and slugs!).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  24. BluePeter – this is great news indeed! I devote most of my waking hours (when not earning cash) to my garden, alongside of my son. Ours is an organic garden and we have developed sound processes to manage pest insects :-) and plants.
    Your pine needles will probably have a very limited effect on slugs. The answer there (as any permaculturalist worth his salt will tell you) is ducks. I employ three for this purpose. Aside from that option, slug traps and hand picking are the next best schemes.
    You might like to consider the type of plants you grow – kale is top of our brassica list, for example, as it is largely untroubled by pests, arthropod or caterpillaric. We also include a lot of apiacaea – flowering ‘umbrella-type’ herbs in and around the garden to foster populations of hoverflies and ladybirds, predatory insects that deal to the pesty aphids etc, without you having to fret over them. There are many sensible and proven ways to operate an organic garden and if I can help, I’d be more than happy to contribute. I even have a Flickr page set up with photos of my garden, should you care to have a look.
    The motto I work to is:
    Real Men have Big Gardens!
    greenfly
    p.s. discussions on gardening are never off-topic :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  25. “I think you need a more balanced position.

    Hydro is a green power source, yet you’re always positioning against it. Makes you look like extremists….”

    Where do you get this nonsense, BP? Not balanced? We’re the only ones with a balanced agenda concerning hydro. Always against it? You clearly were too lazy to read the post!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  26. >>So use VB.

    Snigger

    >>Ducks

    Thanks, Greenfly. Whilst I’d love to have some ducks, I’m sure our cat would as well!

    Apiacaea ? I have parsley/dill – does that do the job? I guess I could add some of the others – (looking up Wikipedia ) cumin, parsley, carrot, coriander/cilantro, dill, caraway, fennel, parsnip, celery, Queen Anne’s Lace.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  27. >>even have a Flickr page set up with photos of my garden, should you care to have a look.

    Yep! Growing (heh) very keen on this organic gardening lark….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  28. >>Always against it?

    I can’t remember the last hydro project you were smiling about and openly encouraging….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  29. BluePeter
    Wild carrot, fennel, alexanders and the native carrot are primo.
    Buckwheat and phacelia are magnets also.
    Our cat, great ginger hunter that he is, is very respectful of the ducks.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/greenflysgarden

    Can I interest you in including some cereal crops in your garden cycle? They offer huge benefits. Sometime we could talk about legumes also – gotta have ‘em!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  30. “caterpillaric”

    Is that a real word greenfly? because it sure sounds cool :)
    Bug words could make intelligent sounding insults
    ie.

    Sap sucking caterpillaric nematodeist!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  31. >>Be it individually or is collectives most animals, including man, have an instinct to establish eminent domain over territory and protect/defend it against all comers.

    Veryplausible. But is it me, or is there some irony here?
    On the one hand it is argued that it is natural for our species to dominate and generally flourish regardless of any direct negative consequences that that may have on the non-human content of the planet. Negative consequences are only considered relevant when our manipulation of the environment upsets a suffuciently individual group of humans.
    On the other hand we generally claim to be qualitatively superior to other life forms because we are possessed with consciousness and (if it is not redundant) self awareness. In this sense we regard ourselves as creatures of free will and substancially ‘apart from nature’.
    Hence, on the one hand we told that our frenzied desire to proliferate the species and dominate all else is something that we have to do because it is in our very nature to do so. Yet, on the other hand, we marvel at our technological and (though to a lesser extent) advacements as if we are masters of our own destiny. Surely, if the latter is the case we should be able to change some of our more egregious habits towards not only our fellow humans but also the planet in general?

    Nah… It’s probably me :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  32. Greenfly when I said “Sap sucking caterpillaric nematodeist!!”
    I wasn’t refering to you personally :)
    Although, I suppose greenfly are sap sucking…………….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  33. Why you..!!
    Nah! Course it’s a real word – caterpillaric action describes the way caterpillars travel up trees, just as aphid-ophalis yoghurt is made from the milk of greenfly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  34. You can MILK greenfly?
    Some one should tell fontera about this!! :D

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  35. >>Can I interest you in including some cereal crops in your garden cycle?

    Cereal?

    Great garden, BTW!

    I’m feeling inadequate….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  36. Kjuv,
    Free-will, thats the problem right there; an incredibly romantic concept which denies psychological reality and physical laws. :P

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  37. BP – rye, oats and barley – they are very useful to grow for a lot of reasons. For one thing, they provide habitat for aphids to flourish. That’s a good thing because they aren’t the same aphids that might attack your favourite food crops, but they still provoke the predatory insects into multiplying, the, when the cereal aphids are exhausted, the predators, in big numbers, move onto your good stuff, looking for a snack!

    Thanks for the feedback on my garden. Those pictures show only about 1/5 of what we have going here (and I’ve three other big gardens as well) but I’m pretty keen on growing food.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  38. BluePeter – that ‘jungly’ effect is where we are going with our gardens. We are abandoning the ‘raised bed’ style as impractical.
    From the foreground, it’s green beans, yams (6 types/colours), onions, potatoes (kowiniwini – best ‘Maori’ potato by far!) then at the back (the tall things) Jerusalem artichokes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  39. Should have said ‘unnecessary’. You can do better without them and save the cost as well (unless you have awful soil conditions – solid clay etc). We garden in the soil and avoid ‘hard’ technology wherever we can. Raised beds restrict the range of ‘things you can do’ and are problematic when it comes to slug control and invasive plants like couch.
    Jerusalem artichokes do flower well – like small and numerous sunflowers. They are excellent wind shelter and store in the soil all winter.
    I’ve posted some more photos on the flickr site – fyi

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  40. greenfly
    When I said “We could do with more.”, it was with specific reference to hydro storage.

    You replied “We could also do with less, Trevor. Or we could do with what we have got now.” which seems to be refering to more than hydro storage.

    We will need more hydro storage because we will need to do with less of some resources than what what we are using at the moment – like coal, gas, oil, uranium,…

    As for which rivers should be targeted for hydro development, I’d like to point out that the Clyde Dam and the Roxburgh Dam are already hydro developments on the Clutha River – but Contact Energy have already made this point.

    Incidentally there is a reason why Contact would prefer to further develop rivers that already have hydro generation – the water storage of upstream dams adds to the energy storage gained from developments further down the river.

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  41. “I’ve just planted a raised vege and herb garden. I’m using pine needles to keep the slugs away. Any other tips for keeping bugs from eating the plants? ”

    Sanding disks will keep seedlings safe from slugs and snails. Cut the disks so they expand as the plants grow. You can re-use them hundreds of times. Just make sure you put the sandpaper side up since it’s the roughness that stops the slugs in their tracks.

    There are lots of organic ways of warding off other pests and diseases, companion planting is the lazy way of doing it.
    http://www.earthmountainview.com/companion_planting.htm

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  42. samiam – that MIT news item is 8 months old. I don’t see it as a major breakthrough, as I read about systems already achieving 70-80% conversion efficiency – about that time. The article doesn’t mention how you pass a current through the electrode and (by implication) through the water. Pure water is a poor conductor, so I can only assume they are adding a strong salt (not necessarily NaCl) to make it conductive but still neutral.

    The big problem with the hydrogen economy isn’t the production of hydrogen – its the handling and storage of the hydrogen produced and higher losses converting the hydroen back to usable energy.

    Note that conventional pumped hydro storage facilities achieve around an 85% recovery of the stored energy.

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  43. “I haven’t heard any objections to the Arnold scheme either.”

    The kayakers were not to happy, but I think they are going to incorporate an artificial course for them. Fish and game are concerned about low flows down stream of the new intake.
    Personally, I am hoping the new canal will produce some monster trout, similar to the canals in otago :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  44. >>an incredibly romantic concept which denies psychological reality and physical laws

    Aww, Sapient! You’ve taken all the fun out of it :).

    Yes, I am aware of the problem of free will but also feel uneasy about blindly latching on to scientism. Can’t quite expuge that Shakespearean Hamlet line ‘There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio than are dreamt of in your philosophy’ from my thoughts :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  45. I am not as familiar with the Clutha River as I would like to be.

    Lake Hawea provides storage fpr much of the water that eventually flows down the Clutha River and through the Clyde and Roxburgh power stations, and this same water will also flow through every one of the new proposals. Therefore each of these proposals will benefit from the controlled storage in Lake Hawea, thus significantly increasing New Zealand’s total hydro storage.

    Incidentally, Contact Energy are installing a small (17MW) generator unit in the Lake Hawea dam to take advantage of the water falling from the lake into the river. That makes 3 existing generation plants on this river.

    http://www.contactenergy.co.nz/web/ourprojects/haweadam?vert=pr

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  46. It’s interesting that this all comes back to generation. In the 90’s, the Wupperthal institute (in conjunction with the Rocky Mountain Institute) wrote the influential book Factor Four, where scientist from all walks of science made the case that we can easily double our wealth while halving our energy consumption. Technology has evolved since then, increasing the potential for savings, while increasing global wealth (and yes: there are people in the world who could do with more energy use and better lives, still). With buildings, factor 10 is a reality. Passive Houses only need a tenth of the energy of usual houses, all the while providing far better comfort, health and well-being, as has been demonstrated in thousands of closely monitored and evaluated cases throughout the world. Transport in NZ has a humongous potential for consumption reduction, while increasing convenience. A lot of processes consume energy for no reasonable purpose.
    Sustainability should start with a needs assessment. Do we need more energy generation? Not if we use the existing capacity wisely. If we don’t need more energy, adding capacity at the expense of natural resources is unsustainable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  47. ubus – we will need more electricity generation from renewable resources if we are to cut back on our use of non-renewable resources such as coal, gas, oil, uranium, etc. This is not just those non-resources currently used for electricity generation. It includes those non-renewable resources used for heating, water heating, transport and industrial processes.

    I accept that some of our use of non-renewable resources for these other purposes can be replaced by renewable resources such as solar and geothermal, but for most of these applications, electricity is a necessary intermediate, due to either location or intermittancy of the renewable resources.

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  48. Trevor29 said “All the Clutha options will increase the total hydro storage, both by their own lakes and by storing more water upstream for use by other generators downstream.”

    Please do your homework, Trevor. You keep talking about this extra hydro storage. Hawea is the only storage for the dams on the Clutha. The current dams at Clyde and Roxburgh are ‘run of the river’ regimes, and all the proposed dams would have the same limitation. Contact says the reservoirs have miminal storage, and that any new dams would be the same and only allow some more flexibility in daily generation. Basically, what goes in over 24hrs, goes out in the next 24hrs. There is little storage to be gained, and little if any dry year ‘insurance.’

    If you don’t like this, go ask Neil Gillespie.

    You also seem to think that the existing dams are a reason for adding more. I think you should take a close look at the issues surrounding the existing dams, before you say something like that. There are major problems there already. The silt problem in the Roxburgh reservoir, for a start, has caused serious flooding in Alexandra, and there is no sign of a solution. By the way, that gorge has the same geo-technical issues as the Cromwell Gorge but nothing was ever done about it. Ignorance is bliss, I suppose. The Clyde dam fiasco is pathetic, and that slip-joint wedge, according to NZ’s foremost geo-technical scientist, was not designed correctly. The second River Channel Fault is not lateral, but tensional, meaning it doesn’t slip sideways, but pulls apart. The joint should have been an ‘expansion-joint’. Oops! Watch out for that wall of water in the next overdue major quake. The water would move at about 150kmph, with a shock-wave in front of it, and would be at the ocean within hours. Not much left afterwards, I’m afraid. Roxburgh dam wouldn’t cope, of course. Yep, ignorance is bliss. If you don’t live in the path of that, I suppose the risk is OK. That’s what the Muldoon government said.

    The rest of the Western world has turned their backs on large dams. Too many environmental and social issues when measured against the alternatives. The world bank has stopped funding them.

    Rivers are a finite resource, and why should the people of the Clutha be pushed aside again. We want to make the river a park and have a trail along it to benefit the communities by creating permanent jobs, not temporary construction jobs. A lot of work has been done and trails are being built.

    The population south of the Waitaki is only 7%, and we already provide 20% of NZ’s electricity. How would you like to lose your home, land, business, life’s work, because a company wants to make money for it’s shareholders? Sorry, this is not about the national good. That’s not in Contact’s mission statement! Follow the money. This is a speculative business proposition, that’s all. There are better alternatives. How about approving Contact’s wind farm up north? Nope, folks up there didn’t want that. Wind turbines may be unsightly to some, but they don’t drown your town.

    The Clutha is a spectacular river. There’s nothing like it elsewhere in NZ., or the world. Go check Wikipedia. It doesn’t belong to Contact. It’s our river, and it’s not for sale. We’ve sacrificed enough.
    http://www.mightyclutha.blogspot.com

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  49. >>we already provide 20% of NZ’s electricity

    “We”? You don’t provide anything, the land is as much mine as it is yours.

    And who pays for most of your benefits? Infrastructure? Telecommunications?

    It ‘aint the locals. They couldn’t afford it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  50. “the land is as much mine as it is yours.” How much did you pay for that half share?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  51. Trevor29

    – “we will need more electricity generation from renewable resources if we are to cut back on our use of non-renewable resources such as coal, gas, oil, uranium, etc”

    Why would we want to “cut back on our use of non-renewable resources”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  52. >>How much did you pay for that half share?

    How much did you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  53. I don’t have a half share that’s why I’m not the one arguing that the people living along the Clutha should be making sacrifices for my benefit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  54. And if you weren’t such a card carrying communist maybe you wouldn’t be such a rabid advocate of this State sponsored subjugation of people’s God-given property rights.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  55. wat said: “Why would we want to “cut back on our use of non-renewable resources”?”

    1) Because the prices of those resources will rise;
    2) Because those resources are non-renewable and therefore the supply must drop;
    3) Because they create CO2 or nuclear waste, and we don’t have good ways of dealing with either.

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  56. >>people living along the Clutha should be making sacrifices for my benefit…God-given property rights.

    Depends which blocks of land they own, and on what basis.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  57. Molyneux Rush said: “…any new dams would be the same and only allow some more flexibility in daily generation…”

    What do you mean “only”? The local storage will add flexibility in daily operation, allowing wind farms to generate when the wind is blowing and hydro to generate when the wind is absent, and to meet periods of high demand. The storage in Lake Hawea will provide some flexibility in meeting weekly variations in both supply and demand, reducing dependency on gas and coal generation for this purpose.

    The total storage won’t make much difference to our seasonal supply and demand fluctuations or to handle dry years, but I never said that it would.

    And I have asked Neil Gillespie for further information but I have had little information back so far.

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  58. “which blocks of land they own,” The ones they paid for.
    “and on what basis.” On the basis that they paid for them.

    I must say I admire your outlook, it’s not what one would normally expect from someone whose home is on the alignment for the third Cook Strait cable? Or hasn’t Transpower got around to ‘consulting’ with you yet?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  59. Trevor29,

    Prices may rise and supplies may dwindle. But when?

    “A massive natural-gas discovery here in northern Louisiana heralds a big shift in the nation’s energy landscape. After an era of declining production, the U.S. is now swimming in natural gas…the equivalent of 33 billion barrels of oil, or 18 years’ worth of current U.S. oil production. Some industry executives think the field could be several times that size.”
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124104549891270585.html

    Would you be advising the US, on economic grounds, that they want to cut back on their use of non-renewables? Or how about this:

    “Has “Peak Oil” Peaked? – Despite the engineering advances of the past century, nearly two-thirds of crude still gets left in the ground.”
    http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/28/has-peak-oil-peaked/

    A free market will ensure that we are using the cheapest sources of energy – renewable or non-renewable.

    As for your third argument – CO2 and suchlike – that has nothing to do with their being non-renewable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  60. >>On the basis that they paid for them.

    Incorrect. Consider compulsory purchase/eminent domain

    >>whose home is on the alignment for the third Cook Strait cable

    Khandallah?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  61. Draw a straight line from Owhero Bay to Transmission gully. Makara’s off-limits now that there’s such a big risk of a broken turbine blade cutting the cables ;) Anyway, Transpower can’t pay you less than the GV since that’s what GVs exist for, but then thanks to Transpower’s status as a Requiring Authority they can bring the market value down to the GV just by slapping a notice on your property while they spend the next ten years going through the resource consent process.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  62. Doesn’t affect me, then.

    And if it did, so be it. I bought the property knowing about compulsory purchase.

    Perhaps people down South didn’t read their contract closely enough…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  63. Aren’t there 6 undersea cables – three new ones and three ones that have failed and been retired? Two of the functioning cables are on Pole 2 (after a reconfiguration when Pole 1 was withdrawn) and the third is on Pole 1, giving Pole 1 a lower current rating (as well as its lower voltage rating as a 1/2 pole).

    Transpower intend laying another cable so that Pole 1 will be upgraded to the same power as Pole 2 – 700 MW each. This will become the fourth operational cable.

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  64. A free market will ensure that we are using the cheapest sources of energy – renewable or non-renewable.

    That’s why we can’t simply worship the free market as if it can solve every problem.

    As for your third argument – CO2 and suchlike – that has nothing to do with their being non-renewable.

    But in many cases coal is the cheapest source the free market will provide.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  65. Valis,
    Actually, while I agree that the free market cannot solve everything, in this case it would work wonders, so long as it really was a free market.

    I have absolutly no problem with coal being used for energy generation, atleast so long as it is required to operate in a free market environment or a close approximation of one.
    One of the few things that almost all free marketeers promote is property rights, a free market cannot function without property rights and one necasary facet of this is that externalities cannot be allowed because an externality is the violation of anothers property rights which is not accounted for by the violator.
    Externalities of coal generation include the environmental degridation of extracting the coal, the CO2 emmited in using the coal, and, depending on the method, the impourities released into the atmosphere and damage to the surrounding environment.
    So as long as the CO2 is accounted for by purchasing credits and the environmental degridation is avioded or accounted for then I have no problem.
    Of course if coal was required to opperate under a true free market it would not be compeditive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  66. # Valis Says:
    May 3rd, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    >> As for your third argument – CO2 and suchlike – that has nothing to do with their being non-renewable.

    > But in many cases coal is the cheapest source the free market will provide.

    True, but the fact that Coal is not renewable isn’t the problem, as we’re not in danger of running out of it. The problem is that it is polluting, and the greenhouse effect side of that pollution is the reason why we will never be able to use enough of it to be in danger of running out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  67. I agree with you both. Was just stirring wat, who I expect wouldn’t agree that putting a price on carbon is a valid attribute of a free market.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  68. Valis,

    Every Capitalist will tell you that externalities should be priced into the market.

    Now, it just so happens that in this case I disagree that CO2 is a negative externality; but that is a different issue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  69. Wat,
    Okay, so you deny that CO2 has negative effects on the environment? Not a problem, even accepting that it still poses problems.

    Do you accept that earth has a limited supply of oxygen?
    Do you accept that the creation of CO2 emmisions through the use of fossil fuels necessitates the use of O2 in some form?
    Do you accept that removing a portion of a limited resource depletes that resource?
    If you accept these then you should accept that the creation of CO2 does deplete our oxygen resources.

    This is all fine and dandy where the rate at which oxygen is used is bellow the rate at which it is replaced, but that is not the case as we create more and more CO2 and have increasingly less forests and other methods of converting CO2 back into O2.

    Do you accept that the creation of CO2 does deplete our oxygen resources?
    Do you accept that forests, etc can regenerate the O2 from CO2 and as such renew the O2 resources?
    Do you accept that forests necessitate land on which to be grown, land which may be owned?
    Do you accept that renewing the O2 resources is a desirable service?
    If you accept this then you must accept that some of the resources provided by the forest owners are not payed for and that that provided by the forest owners which is not payed for is depleated by the CO2 emmitters without charge? You must accept that this is an externality.

    What do you disagree with? And please do not argue that there is so much oxygen that it does not matter, that is irrelivant, no different than arguing there is so much land than not paying for the use of a few square miles is irrelivant,

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  70. …”Do you accept that earth has a limited supply of oxygen?……..Do you accept that the creation of CO2 does deplete our oxygen resources?”
    LOL
    In all seriousness, I think you’ve finally nailed it for the Greens, the green movement needs this POV front and center, out in front in parliament and the flappitty batty finance media shouting circus. They will ignore this at their own peril until all the oxygen is gone!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  71. Trevor, if you don’t like my use of the word ‘only’ I suggest you take it up with Neil Gillespie, who says: “The amount of storage in any of the proposed options is minimal just as it is for the existing Clyde and Roxburgh Power Stations. It effectively only allows some daily flexibilty in the timing of electricty generation.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  72. Sapient,

    – “And please do not argue that there is so much oxygen that it does not matter, that is irrelivant,”

    Actually, I am going to argue something along that line, because it is precisely the point: when we are talking in terms of parts per million it should be fairly obvious that we are talking about something insignificant in the extreme.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  73. Wat, Even,
    The point is not how much oxygen there is but that the oxygen is being used for profit by a body which does not make reperations for such usage. The fact that there is so much oxygen is irrelivant, oxygen is being used and must be regenerated, think of the volume as a buffer. If you use something faster than it is regenerated it will inevitably run out.
    if a business is worth billions it will still fall if it continuously runs at a loss, likewise it being worth so much does not justify a worker steeling from the till.
    At any rate I only need to make this arguement based on your ideology because you deny a much stronger arguement by denying that changing the concentration of a mixture can change how it affects that with which it interacts; An uterly naive stance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  74. ..”If you use something faster than it is regenerated ( oxygen ) it will inevitably run out.”
    That’s what i was congratulating you upon Sapient and i’m not sure even the Greens have fully grasped the significance of it. You need to get stuck in and get this issue on the table, for it will be advantageous (if all the other problems with the Global Warming agenda fully emerge) in helping people understand the neccessity of global taxes on carbon in all areas of life.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  75. Even,
    I appologise, I though you were poking fun at my statement :P .
    The Green party and the green movement as a whole is too entrenched in ideology to accept rational arguement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  76. Sapient,

    – “oxygen is being used for profit by a body which does not make reperations for such usage”

    Why do you mention profit? Surely the fact that a resource is being consumed is the important point; not whether a profit was involved: if you go for a jog, you consume more oxygen yet don’t pay a cent.

    There is a good reason why externalities are only calculated to a rough degree – the costs and resources used in anything finer quickly outweigh any benefits. For that reason, when you clean your car and change its reflectivity, thus altering the albedo of the whole planet by an infinitesimal but definite amount, we don’t try and calculate all the effects it may have – positive and negative – and send you an invoice (or a cheque, depending on how our calculations turn out.) Consuming oxygen falls into the same category.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  77. Molyneux Rush Says:
    May 3rd, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    “The amount of storage in any of the proposed options is minimal just as it is for the existing Clyde and Roxburgh Power Stations.”

    could they be designed to provide greater storage?

    or would that be prohibitively expensive?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  78. Wat,
    That which is owned is owned because the owner can exert sufficent power to stop others from utilising it without the owners say so.
    The oceans are owned by the collective body of humanity for this reason and the oceans produce sufficent oxygen that they account for all of human resperation easily and as such, since that production is not then onsold, the citizens of this planet, the owners of the oceans, actually are net producers of oxygen.
    When an individual seeks to extract profit from such use however, they use more than they are entitled to as shareholders of that commons and as such in seeking a profit they necesitate more generation than is alotted to them. Because of this they must seek to acoutn for that usage.

    You may find it easier to think of it like this:
    The respiration of humans on the mass scale is easily approximatble and because of this we could, in absence of the commons arguement, easily charge countries based on their population and conditions the carbon used by their people which would then be passed on to the people through taxation. Similar to how one does not charge, dirrectly, every driver for their petrol use but rather puts the charge at a point where it is efficent to measure, e.g. at extraction or import, and the cost is then passed on to the consumer. In this case the personal use would be accounted for through credit purchases payed for in taxes but other use, that for profit, would be accounted for through the requirement of credit purchase relative to the resources used.

    While you are correct about the cars albedo, you are also correct about the economics of such measurement, an arguement that does not apply to the readily scaleable measurement of oxygen usage. because of this your reduction does not apply.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  79. kahikatea – In short, no. There isn’t a way to improve the storage of may of our run-of-river hydro schemes, existing or planned. to misquote and old song – Ain’t no river wide enough, ain’t no valley deep enough…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  80. Sapient,

    What exactly would be the point of charging humans for their respiration? We all breath, so everyone would have to pay; so who are you going to pay the collected money to? It would simply be paid straight back to everyone – less the costs of the whole pointless exercise.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  81. kahikatea – I have to disagree with frog a bit here. The storage in these proposals can be increased by designing them to work with a greater operating range. The efficiency goes down as the water passing through the station gives up less energy if the water level is lower, but any other generation downstream gets the advantage of more controlled water flow.

    The other disadvantage of increasing the operating range is that a greater area of shoreline becomes involved, and as reported around Lake Hawea, dust can become a nuisance and shoreline erosion can also be a problem. There may be other effects on local flora and fauna.

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  82. I agree with Trevor’s points, but I was responding to the notion of cost and I still submit that many efforts to significantly improve storage in our predominantly run-of-river systems will either cost too much technically, environmentally, or both.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  83. Molyneux Rush – let’s look at the amount of storage:

    The main storage for the Clutha system is in Lake Hawea. This has an area of 11776ha, i.e. 117.76×10^6 m^2. The operating range is 8m (338-346m above sea level) so the controlled volume is 942×10^6 m^3. This water flows through Clyde and Roxburgh and will flow through the generation built into the Hawea control gates. The total fall is approx 20m + 60m + 46m, giving a total energy of about 1.1×10^15J or about 300GWH.

    The proposed schemes at Luggate, Queensberry, Beaumont or Tuapeka have heads to 25. 40. 30 and 50m respectively, giving energies of about 65, 100, 75 and 130 GWH respectively. If Luggate, Queensberry and Tuapeka all proceed, the total is close to 300GWH, or about 7% of New Zealand’s current hydro storage.

    (These figures are approximate as I don’t have an efficiency figure for the generation.)

    Neil Gillespie went on to say:
    “Lake Hawea is the only controlled storage lake in the Clutha Catchment and it is correct to say that any new power station that uses water stored in that lake does effectively increase the GWh storage.”

    Incidentally, most of the problems being caused by the existing dams are due to sediment, etc which enters the Clutha system below the Luggate and Queensberry sections of the river, so dams at Luggate and/or Queensberry shouldn’t cause any significant change.

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  84. Wat,
    It wasint necesitated by the first framing, it was only the second framing that necessitated that.
    Additionally, it would not be getting payed back to everyone, a country with excess generating capacity would receive money through sale of credits and one with a deficit capacity would have to pay others for those credits. It works both on the micro and macro scales.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  85. wat asked:
    Would you be advising the US, on economic grounds, that they want to cut back on their use of non-renewables? Or how about this:

    “Has “Peak Oil” Peaked? – Despite the engineering advances of the past century, nearly two-thirds of crude still gets left in the ground.”
    http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/28/has-peak-oil-peaked/

    “Peak oil” doesn’t mean that oil has run out at that point. It means that supply has peaked, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to extract the remaining oil. We know that much of the oil in old fields is still in the ground, and that most of it can be extracted if we work hard enough, so this isn’t news.

    Yes I would recommend that the US shift from non-renewable resources to renewable resources. This will take decades and if they don’t work on it now, they will be in a much bigger hole when gas peaks. That doesn’t mean that I want them to stop building new gas-fired generation, just that I want them to build wind and solar generation etc, as well as gas-fired. If nothing else. this will reduce the ability of the gas suppliers to hold the rest of the country over a barrel – so to speak.

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  86. “The population south of the Waitaki is only 7%, and we already provide 20% of NZ’s electricity.”

    The other side of this story is that significantly more than 7% of NZ’s electricity is consumed south of the Waitaki. The smelter alone consumes what – about 10%?

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  87. I would rather have untouched rivers. We can’t keep growing our electricity generation indefinitely, as far as I know.

    I think SKM did a study a few years ago on the extent and price of energy then effectively available to NZ via efficiency and via various forms of new generation. I must try to find the link. Many in the green party will know about it.

    In any case, extra MW get eaten up pretty quickly when population grows. At some point I think that issue will need to be considered.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  88. Prim,

    It isn’t just how much electricity is generated. It is also about how that electricity is generated. Unfortunately most renewable electrcity resources are use-it-or-lose-it, and many are intermittant. Some geothermal, and hydro with storage are the main two that are despatchable. We need these to cope with peak demands and for when the wind isn’t blowing, the seas are calm and the sun isn’t shining.

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

  89. Prim

    In any case, extra MW get eaten up pretty quickly when population grows. At some point I think that issue will need to be considered.

    Whether or not the population grows.

    That is because at a fundamental level, the work done by a harnessed river or a wind-turbine or a tidal generator has value. The ability to control “work” , to store it and to apply it when and where it is desired is a true measure of the wealth of a nation. The ability to do so renewably, is an even better measure.

    Which is why I tend to regard a pristine river which occasionally floods and which generates no electricity in its travel down to the sea, as a wasted opportunity. I am very green in many ways, but in this I part company with the party more often than not. If there are problems with an implementation, solve them and get on with it.

    There are no “extra MW” as long as we are burning dead dinosaurs to make electricity.

    respectfully
    BJ

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>