Energy Strategy to worsen Energy Outlook

The Ministry of Economic Development have released their Energy Outlook for New Zealand and it should be a wake-up call for the Government.

The report projects New Zealand’s future energy supply, demand, prices and greenhouse gas emissions but the major challenges identified in it are at odds with the Governments  ‘drill it, mine’  fossil-fuel-focused Energy Strategy.

The report acknowledges oil prices will be up, greenhouse gas emissions from energy will be up a staggering 40-50% on 1990 levels by 2030 and transport will continue to be oil dependant. This is a huge economic and environmental threat. It beggars belief that the Government continues to borrow billions to pour on uneconomic motorways when the report itself says ‘Historical travel data indicates that personal road travel is already near saturation, with little additional per capita travel likely.’ This scare money could be better spent preparing us for oil and carbon constrained world.

New Zealand’s dependence on imported oil is a huge strategic worry and should be the subject of an urgent inquiry. However unlike many governments, militaries and businesses that are planning to reduce their dependence on oil our Government won’t even plan to start planning. We have so many options in New Zealand from energy efficiency, 90%+ renewable electricity production, better public transport, walking and cycling to increase resiliency, reduce emissions and benefit the economy.

At the household level the report also says people will continue to struggle with energy bills because the price of electricity will remain higher than inflation for the next 18 years.

There is some good news in the report including promising renewable electricity production and New Zealand’s energy intensity is forecast to improve 21 per cent by 2030 however many of the challenges forecast in the report will just worsen given the Government’s Energy Strategy.

45 thoughts on “Energy Strategy to worsen Energy Outlook

  1. So obviously you are commenting on the bullet points of the reference case:
    In 2030, renewable energy sources provide around 50% of New Zealand’s primary energy supply.
    Wholesale electricity prices may need to increase around 1% above the rate of inflation out to 2030 in order to support investment in new electricity generation.

    From your comment: At the household level the report also says people will continue to struggle with energy bills because the price of electricity will remain higher than inflation for the next 18 years.; I’m at least glad the Greens at least recognise that their policies are contributing to increased costs for households.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 11 (-6)

  2. The demand for new energy that is puting up prices is not as result of Green policies but because they are not being implemented. For example if all rental property was insulated demand for power would decline.

    In fact as the Listener put in their editorial

    “Although smart grids, efficient public transport systems and home-insulation programmes might not match the headline-grabbing allure of the likes of Tag Oil’s ambitious exploration plans, the economic and environmental gains to be had from such schemes are likely significant – and a good deal more sustainable.”

    http://www.listener.co.nz/commentary/editorial/exploiting-our-oil-and-gas/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3 (+8)

  3. So SPC: are renewables cheaper (on a reliable GW hour basis)than fossil fuels or not?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 (+3)

  4. Not a pertinent question, because if there was not a rising demand there would not be a call for either new renewable or new carbon energy.

    Besides, the Green Party has never been a party to the decision-making of government or the SOE’s on their energy policy. The decions on using more renewable energy are a consequence of a preference for sustainable energy sources across the political spectrum and participation in international agreements such as Kyoto.

    Your objection to use of sustainable energy rather than cheaper for now carbon sources, is not to Green Party policy, but to worldwide government choice – including right wing free market administrations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3 (+4)

  5. While I don’t know the finer costs of it all, I’d wager it probably is when you consider that currently our reliance on oil is at a point where more energy is spent transporting/harvesting food than the food actually provides. When oil runs out, if this dependency continues at the same rate the western world will quite literally become the third world.

    There is also the hidden costs of things like oil spills, water pollution and CO2/SO2 emissions on public health. Not to mention the loss of a rapidly diminishing tourism sector because we’re quickly becoming a very dirty country. On a start-up capital basis, oil and other fossil fuels may seem like a great idea – but sustainable energy production such as wind farms and hydroelectricity/geothermal electricity are all likely to provide a more sustained income as well as give civilization more time. In all honesty Nuclear power would be a far better option than fossil fuels both economically and socially, but would still produce waste that would need to be disposed of.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 (+2)

  6. Spam would like to know if renewables are cost efective. Just look at the SOEs:
    http://www.meridianenergy.co.nz/what-we-do/our-projects/
    Wind, solar and hydro projects only – clearly they think renewables are cost effective.
    http://www.mightyriver.co.nz/Our-Business/Investment-Development.aspx
    Two recently completed geothermal projects and a third under development and also believing wind to be cost effective.
    http://www.contactenergy.co.nz/web/ourprojects/ourprojects?vert=au
    Two geothermal plants, two wind project, two hydro projects and one gas project (already completed) – clearly believing renewables are cost effective but that fossil fuels fill a niche.
    http://www.genesisenergy.co.nz/genesis/generation/our-projects/our-projects_home.cfm
    Two gas projects (one on hold) and two wind farms – clearly believing renewables have a place.

    And there are smaller renewable projects progressing in the hands of other developers such as lines companies.

    That is a lot of people not just saying that renewables are cost effective but putting their money behind renewables.

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 (+3)

  7. The other side of Spam’s question is how reliable are fossil fuels? If the fuel is stockpiled beside the generators, then very reliable in the short term. However it takes months or years to build new generation so looking ahead a few years and the picture is a lot different.

    Some of our generation is or can be fueled by oil so look at the oil producers such as Iran, Libya, Sudan, etc and rising oil demand everywhere (including in New Zealand) and judge how reliable sourcing oil for generation will be.

    Much of our fossil fueled generation now and planned takes gas. We could have a gas shortage in 2015 as existing sources run down and new sources haven’t come on stream.

    So there’s coal – the generation with the highest emissions and a long history of accidents.

    For long term planning, renewables are more reliable than fossil fuels.

    Trevor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 (+2)

  8. Spam needs to understand that the Greens have a long time horizon. On that horizon not only are his favored fossil fuels unreliable, but also downright dangerous. The problem is getting him to accept that the long view is important.

    BJ

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  9. Having a reasonably long term view is not unique to the Greens; if you build a substantive power station you’ll typically finance it over 25 years with the expectation of a 50 year life.

    The gamble is that the built station will still have a place in the generation portfolio of the country in 25 years time, and that will be determined by cost of generation then, which will be mostly down to input fuel cost. And as sure as death and taxes, the input cost of gas, oil, coal, diesel, biomass will be higher in 25 years than they are today.

    Some generation technologies don’t have a fuel cost, so over the long term, they have a built in advantage. Which is why the hydro portfolio is as valid and valuable today as it was when it was built. Even Lake Coleridge built at the turn of the last century still pulls it’s weight.

    Contrast that with Huntly, designed as a gas fired baseload plant, now with the old section switched to coal, which will likely be consigned to dry year generation before too long. The changing world has worked against Huntly.

    So no-fuel-cost renewables have proved themselves to be he best option for power in New Zealand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 (+3)

  10. SPC Wrote:Not a pertinent question, because if there was not a rising demand there would not be a call for either new renewable or new carbon energy.
    It is a very pertinent question, given that Gareth appears to be complaining about higher eletricity prices. Unless your favoured solution it to reduce productivity.

    Ell Write:
    There is also the hidden costs of things like oil spills, water pollution and CO2/SO2 emissions on public health. Not to mention the loss of a rapidly diminishing tourism sector because we’re quickly becoming a very dirty country. On a start-up capital basis, oil and other fossil fuels may seem like a great idea – but sustainable energy production such as wind farms and hydroelectricity/geothermal electricity are all likely to provide a more sustained income as well as give civilization more time.
    They’re not hidden costs, because there is a carbon charge (read: Subsidy). Wind Farms and Hydrodams aren’t exactly tourism-friendly (nor are solar farms). Do the greens support more windfarms (visual polution) and dams (visual pollution, flooding, earthquakes, loss of biodiversity etc)? The footprints of those are larger than fossil fuels power.

    Trevor Wrote:
    Spam would like to know if renewables are cost efective. Just look at the SOEs: (etc)
    Well sure, people are investing in them. That doesn’t make them the cheapest though. Diversity of generation is a good thing, and its how the free market works. There is a growing energy supply gap (both in New Zealand and worldwide), and this will naturally increase energy costs, and result in generators seeking alternative sources for security of supply. This does not prove that renewables are cheaper than fossil fuels however. New Zealand is somewhat isolated, has a low proportion of fossil-fuel generation, has no LNG import terminals. It also has dwindling proven gas supplies, however this is mainly due to under-exploration.

    The other side of Spam’s question is how reliable are fossil fuels? If the fuel is stockpiled beside the generators, then very reliable in the short term. However it takes months or years to build new generation so looking ahead a few years and the picture is a lot different.
    …and conversely, renewables (geothermal aside) are very unreliable in the short term. Yet I am schooled that:

    Spam needs to understand that the Greens have a long time horizon. On that horizon not only are his favored fossil fuels unreliable, but also downright dangerous. The problem is getting him to accept that the long view is important.

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  11. Spam said:
    “…and conversely, renewables (geothermal aside) are very unreliable in the short term.”

    For decades, the South Island grid was isolated from the North Island grid – until the HVDC link was built. During these decades, the South Island grid operated very reliably with no geothermal plant and (as far as I know) no thermal plant either – just hydro. No problem. We still have that hydro and more, and many of those stations have been upgraded to increase their efficiency a bit and increase their peak output power more.

    Renewables such as wind, wave and solar are not reliable if you need their power at a particular time – but we don’t. We have hydro. We need their power some of the time but we don’t care much when. Different sites generate at different times so there is usually some generation and rarely do they all generate at full power simultaneously. So we use these sources when we can and use the hydro when necessary.

    If we find that we lose too much power because these intermittant renewables are generating more power than we can use, then we can store it. We just need to add a few big pumps to some of our existing hydro stations to pump the water up from one lake to another, or if we want to we can build a big pump storage system.

    And if the North Island needs more power than these renewables can supply, then we may have to burn something – like renewable biomass at Huntley.

    Trevor.

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  12. Spam – the SOEs are not investing in renewables to gain diversity, i.e to balance their investment in fossil fuelled plant. In case you hadn’t noticed, they are simply not investing in any fossil-fuelled plants at all. Contact’s gas-fired peaker is about the last fossil-fuelled generator added to our power system and there hasn’t been any new fossil-fuelled generation started since National scrapped Labour’s moritorium.

    They are investing in renewables because they expect that they will get the best long-term return on their investment that way.

    Trevor.

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  13. No – even without a rising demand for energy, there would still be a call for new renewable generation to replace fossil-fuelled generation and to allow electricity to replace fossil fuels in other applications such as water and space heating, and some industrial applications and also for electric transport.

    Trevor.

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  14. Lets take that danger a bit further Spam, since you seem not to count it AT ALL…

    We have to go back 3 million+ years to find similar CO2 levels to what we have TODAY. The conditions then were pretty much the Pliocene… 30 meters of sea level and 4+degrees of warming.

    It took 3 million years to sequester the carbon difference between then to our pre-industrial CO2. We put it BACK into the atmosphere in 150 years. That’s 20,000 times faster than it was removed.

    The planet is STILL warming and will continue to warm from that jolt, and the question of just exactly how such a complex system will respond to being hit with a step increase like that remains open as the experiment continues. We are still pouring it on.

    We’ve equaled the Pliocene but we can easily achieve another 2 degrees (6+ degrees total) on current form and THAT would take out the Antarctic ice cap. At such levels and rates we can conceivably force Ocean turnover to cease, leading to stratification, anoxia and massive die-offs. We risk at that high end, a Permian level extinction event.

    Got that ?

    Fundamentally this debate was framed (because scientists are poor at doing these PR sorts of things) as a requirement that the science PROVE that what we are doing is unsafe.

    That is an error.

    The experiment in changing our atmospheric chemistry is being conducted NOW, and it is to the benefit of the people who wound up as the “winners” in the last 100 years of economic development, that it continue.

    They however, have a moral obligation to prove it is SAFE for all the people affected, and their children. THEY are the ones changing things. They are the beneficiaries of those changes, yet any cost will be borne by all of us.

    Funny how this parallels their attitude to the rest of us in the realm of finance.

    This explains why the Wall Street Journal provides such a ready forum for denialist nonsense and why there is so MUCH big money behind the propaganda machine.

    But it is their experiment. No scientist ever suggested we do this, or that we should continue it, and the people of this planet did not agree for their children to inherit the mess. Those who want this to continue as it has been going on have to prove it is safe, and they cannot do so. They are stealing from every person living and generations yet unborn… they are, quite possibly, condemning every living thing on the planet to death.

    It would take a thousand years or so for the planet to become uninhabitable, if that is where this all leads. There is no proof that it will do so at all. There is plenty of evidence that it could however, and there is no evidence at all that it will NOT.

    Do you feel lucky Spam? Want to tempt Murphy, the one TRUE God?

    See, there is this little problem with all the “fossil fuels” and it is that they make the Greenhouse effect worse. You really have to be feeling pretty lucky to go on burning the stuff, because you are flying in the face of pretty much all the evidence we have.

    Betting your life as it were, except it isn’t YOUR life being bet here… it is your kids and their kids and my kids and everyone else’s. You can’t cover that bet. You don’t own their lives. What you are doing is advocating THEFT Spam.

    Are you honest enough with yourself to understand that?

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  15. Renewables such as wind, wave and solar are not reliable if you need their power at a particular time – but we don’t. We have hydro.
    Right. So can I therefore expect to see the green cheerleading for more hydrodams?

    Do you not recall the power shortages of the early 90s? Or even 2008?

    Contact’s gas-fired peaker is about the last fossil-fuelled generator added to our power system and there hasn’t been any new fossil-fuelled generation started since National scrapped Labour’s moritorium.
    Actually, a few have been consented (Rodney, Otahuhu), and some are in construction (McKee, Mangahewa), and some expansions have happened (Huntley, Stratford). What is interesting it the Mangahewa development: Todd Energy found more gas, and with security of supply, surprise surprise, they’re developing it.

    Anyway, there is a growing energy supply gap, and too many people in New Zealand have their heads stuck in the sand to actually allow intensive gas exploration or utilisation of our abundant coal resources.

    Instead we have NIMBYs complaining about visual pollution from wind, environmental problems with hydro, some ‘risk’ of nuclear (real but mostly imagined), pollution from coal, pollution from gas (even though its very clean), etc etc.

    Fact is that for a reliable, low cost supply, gas or coal would be cheaper. Policies to support exploration and development of new reserves would help secure the energy future. Now: If the greens want to argue the case that the environmental risks of those are not worth it, do it on principle, and explain to the great unwashed that ‘yes it will cost more, but its worth it in the long run’, then fine. But then they need to stop complaining about higher electricity prices, because that is the cost of their policies.

    You mentioned Hydro. Do you support more hydro? I am interested in knowing, what energy sources to the greens actually support?

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  16. LOL energy companies use renewable energy projects as marketing \ public image ploys to suck in consumers who think green is the in thing at the moment.

    They all buy energy (the majority of it hydro and fossil based) on the open market and sell it to consumers. Just because they have a pissy windfarm that produces 0.3% of the nations enery doesnt make them all warm green and fuzzy.

    Its ALL about the money, nothing more. Only when wholesale gas and coal prices approach a critical point will they ever look at more expensive renewable energy.

    Fusion is where its at, but we have 50 years to wait before anything commercially viable is available.

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  17. Fusion is where its at, but we have 50 years to wait before anything commercially viable is available.

    I remember them saying that 50 years ago mate. EXACTLY that. :-)

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  18. Its ALL about the money, nothing more.

    No… that’s what it is all about for National followers…

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  19. Spam, we do have the hydrodam argument here on occasion, with me usually taking the side of building the dam. There are a whole set of tradeoffs in such a project, one of the most compelling problems with them at this point is that we’ve already built on all the really good spots. We can pick up a bit more here and there, but overall the sites are pretty well picked over. The question that arises mostly is the question of conservation efforts vs the damage from building the dam, considering that the dam projects are smaller than optimal for hydro. I still opt for the dams, others here opt for the fish or eels. The party is not of one mind on the issue, each dam is considered separately.

    Instead we have NIMBYs complaining about visual pollution from wind

    … true, and I don’t recall any of that coming from people on this blog except for Photonz (where is he by the way?), and there’s no way HE is a “Green”. If I had my way the West Coast would be wind farms from one end of the country to the other. Beautiful things. Photonz, being a photographer, disagrees.

    I am interested in knowing, what energy sources to the greens actually support?

    Geothermal, Wind, Tidal… (there are some who like wave but I do not reckon it can ever be cost effective given the environment in which it has to live), Solar (more for Oz than for us), Satellite Solar (that one is more unique to me, the party doesn’t have a policy about it). The one that has (IMHO) the greatest untapped potential for us is tidal, particularly through Cook Strait. Dead nuts reliable… but not constant. Available about half the time so smoothing storage and some catering to the times the energy is available, is required. Not something we are used to, but our forebears were.

    Working in time to the rhythms of the planet isn’t all that onerous… it just isn’t as “constant” as we’ve grown up assuming.

    Given our wind and tidal potential, there is no crashing need for us to go to Nukes. Others (Japan, USA, China, India) probably HAVE to have them, and will not have enough. We’re in better shape.

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  20. Thing is, if you go back in time, New Zealand had the most cost effective electricity generation and distribution network of any of the OECD, was 100% renewables powered, and suffered only the dry year problem.

    The visionaries of that service decided to link the islands with the HVDC link, at the time a feat untried anywhere in the world.

    We had just the best electricity system one could have, given the constraints of our geography.

    And then we changed the rules by doing the market reform thing. Our system wasn’t designed to work that way, so it got very stressed, and is still in that state.

    And now we’re down to 66% renewable generation.

    We could again have a vast majority of our generation renewable (very very high if one included biomass, but I’m not sure that’s a good idea).

    We could also do other sensible things that would reduce our demand.

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  21. I wouldn’t link the change from 100% renewables to Bradford’s reforms -Huntly power station was built in the ’70s.

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  22. Sorry, not clear.

    This bit is different to the rest :)

    We had just the best electricity system one could have, given the constraints of our geography.

    And then we changed the rules by doing the market reform thing. Our system wasn’t designed to work that way, so it got very stressed, and is still in that state.

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  23. Mabey we could get back to 100% renewable energy via the following.

    Ban the importation of unnecessary electronic gadgets that waste power and dont contribute to society.Playstations, xboxs, ipods, big screen TVs, big stereo systems etc etc. Limit them to libraries and only for educational related stuff.

    Change building codes to have maximum amount of lighting in new houses.

    Ban non energysaving bulbs.

    Have industry work on a 24/7 rotating roster to spread out load.

    4 day working week

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  24. We could, but a better idea would be

    a) to just build the generation already.

    b) Reinstate demand management on suitable commercial and industrial loads to reduce peak load to reduce investment required, with a financial incentive to the business, of course.

    c) Reduce the amount of energy we just chuck away unnecessarily.

    Close to 100% renewable looks very possible, and over the 50 year timeframe of the discussion, will be higly economic.

    You dont think the generators know that gas prices are going up? They ain’t stupid.

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  25. “Instead we have NIMBYs complaining about visual pollution from wind

    BJ says “… true, and I don’t recall any of that coming from people on this blog except for Photonz (where is he by the way?),”

    I think wind farms are a great idea on modified landscapes, and a really stupid idea on outstanding wilderness landscapes.

    Since we are often called the Saudi Arabia of wind, we have far more suitable windfarm sites than we can ever use (we even have more windfarms that have actually passed the whole consent process than we can currently use)

    Which makes it even more stupid to put windfarms on listed outstanding natural landscapes when we don’t have to.

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  26. Glad to see you back Photonz… did you have a good vacation if that was where you were… and if not, I hope it was a profitable hiatus for you.

    Really.

    We will continue to bitterly oppose one another on many fronts I am sure, but for a moment… I am happy to hear from you again.

    :-)

    …and I do agree, the “outstanding natural landscapes” SHOULD be the last places that get windfarms, and we should try not to do them there at all… even it I DO find them beautiful. I have to acknowledge that I’m an Engineer, not a lensman. :-)

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  27. Spam – certain hydro is beneficial. Other hydro has too many side effects. Stockton Plateau is one hydro scheme I support, along with the Hawea Gates system and a similar project on the Waitaki. But I said that we have hydro – enough hydro to meet our needs when intermittant generation isn’t generating without having to build any more.

    Yes, hydro can have dry years, which is why I want to see hydro supplemented with wind, wave and geothermal. Hydro can’t meet all our baseload requirements on its own without major expansions which we don’t need and don’t want.

    I didn’t know about Mangahewa, but it is only 10MW. When was it’s construction started? McKee is a co-generation plant of just 2MW. The gas powering both these developments will run out – probably long before the recently built geothermal stations are retired.

    When three out of four SOEs are investing in geothermal and one of them has completed several geothermal projects and is actively workingg on more geothermal, you know that they are not just doing it for appearances.

    Trevor.

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  28. bj – thanks – yes, a good holiday, then busy working.

    I also think windfarms (in the right place) are beautiful in their own way, and often photograph them. But then I also started off doing engineering (civil) many years ago.

    As for our energy needs in NZ. They only increase by 2.5% each year, so if we became 2.5% more efficient every year, we wouldn’t need any new generation.

    With additional insulation, a new heat pump and new curtains we’ve reduced our monthly power bill by $100-200 a month in winter over what it was a couple of years ago.

    And we just bought a new car that goes 50% further for the same amount of fuel as the old one it replaced.

    Like I’ve always said, George Bush was probably right about one thing (probably the only thing) – New technology will have a bigger impact on reducing energy use than trying to change peoples behaviour.

    Today I can buy light bulbs that have an 80% reduction (much more than the 2.5% needed annually) in power consumption over old style bulbs. And as LEDs become cheap they will reduce that even further.

    A new low friction engine reduced fuel use in my new car by 15% over the old model. A new type of gearbox reduced fuel consumption in some Subaru models by 20%.

    My new heat pump is 30% more efficient than the old one it replaced.

    Solar panels and solar water heating is starting to (slowly) come down in price, and inverters are now cheap. It’s becoming more feasible for houses to supply some of their own power.

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  29. Increased efficiency is good and worthwhile, but there are limits to what can be achieved – the law of diminishing returns for one. LED lighting is at least 5 times more efficient than the standard incandescents, but not much more efficient than compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). But it is hard to increase the efficiency of an electric jug significantly.

    Our electricity needs will continue to climb. Efficiency improvements are likely to keep pace with population increases, but we need to move away from fossil fuels for space and water heating and cooking (and transport), and for that we need electricity to cover when the sun isn’t shining at least. Even those people who deny the science behind climate change can’t deny peak oil or peak gas – it is just a matter of when, and we know the prices will oil and gas will rise faster than inflation. Increasing our drilling efforts may alter the timing but not the inevitable outcome.

    So it makes financial sense to invest in renewables.

    Trevor.

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  30. WHilst agreeing with most of what both PhotoNZ says (and welcome back too!) and Trevor says, there is one part of heating that bugs me; if you’re gonna use gas to heat it is three times more efficient to utilise gas directly than it is to convert it to electricity and then use resistance heating. If you use a heat pump then the overall efficiency is somewhere akin to what it would have been had you just utilised gas to directly heat the space.

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  31. Trevor29 says “Increased efficiency is good and worthwhile, but there are limits to what can be achieved ”

    But then you mention these limits. LEDs and CFLs are not 2.5% more efficient (the amount we need to improve annually), not 10% more efficient, but as you say 5 times more efficient – that’s 500%.

    That’s a very high limit.

    Heat pumps are 3-4 times more efficient than electric heaters. That’s 300-400% better.

    A Suzuki Swift is about 100% more efficient than a Ford Falcon.

    You say it’s hard to increase the efficiency of an electric jug, but it only costs 2 cents to boil a full jug so that’s not a issue.

    The real savings will be the likes of water heating which takes 1/3 of NZs dometic electricity, but we haven’t even really started with heat pumps for water heating.

    Nor have we started with in-ground heat pumps which will likely be far more efficient using the warm high mass of the earth rather than cold low mass of outside air.

    I reckon there are huge efficiency gains to be made.

    dbuckley – thanks. The problem with gas is that’s it’s generally a finite resource, compared to using renewable energy.

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  32. I entirely agree gas is non-renewable. But it makes far more sense to more years home heating than lesser years generating electricity at less efficiency.

    The Real Issue is that energy conservation measures are treated as being the responsibility of the homeowner to provide, yet energy supply is a corporate issue.

    For example: New Zealand could negate (or at least defer) the need to build more generation by improving its water heating arrangements, as PhontoNZ notes. We could use solar pre-heat, or heat pumps, or both.

    The dichotomy is that the home owner has to pay for the improvement as I noted, but if he doesn’t do this, then the electricity company will build more plant, and recover the cost through the electricity charges.

    The joined up thinking approach is that the better result for New Zealand is for the electricity company to finance and manage the conversion of New Zealand’s housing to less consumptive heating arrangements, with the cost being recovered through the electricity bill.

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  33. dbuckley – you say it’s three times more efficient to use gas heating directly rather than turn it into electricity, then use resistance heating.

    But if you use a modern heat pump (3-4 times more efficient than resistance heating) – then it is still more efficent heat homes with gas-generated electricity via a heatpump, than direct gas

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  34. How about we control our population a little better ? easily implemented in westernised countries where the majority of energy is consumed.

    Rather than try to keep up, lets reduce the amount of us to a sustainable level that the environment can cope with and provide us with all the energy we will ever require.

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  35. “Have industry work on a 24/7 rotating roster to spread out load.

    4 day working week”

    Well nzmr2guy which one of the two ideas (mutually exclusive) are you are suggesting.

    The first risks being counter-productive because peak load is when people return home in winter – if industry was still operating then peak load would go up further.

    Does a 4 day working week reduce power use? Would not workers expend more energy separately in their own homes than collectively at work. It only has a chance if we were using power generated battery cars to get to and from work.

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  36. But if you use a modern heat pump (3-4 times more efficient than resistance heating) – then it is still more efficent heat homes with gas-generated electricity via a heatpump, than direct gas

    I agree, and even said that, but, you’ve spent a metric truckload of money on generation, distribution and utilisation when you could avoid all that expense.

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  37. photonz1 – if a LED light or CFL uses 1/5 of the energy, then it is 400%, not 500% more efficient. But much of our lighting is already at this level of efficiency, and lighting is only about 1/5th of our electricity demand (from memory). Yes it would help, but not for very long on its own.

    The arguement about direct use of gas versus gas generation+heat pump is moot. Better than both is gas co-generation for the heating and electricity generation at peak times and heat pumps powered from renewable generation when there is enough renewable generation. This is effectively a form of demand management. Better still is to use direct solar waterheating if the sun is shining.

    Trevor.

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  38. dbuckley

    The reticulation for the gas is not free. Nor is that a re-usable expense item unless we start distributing bio-gas in its place later. So there may be a point for doing it the indirect way. The basic analysis is correct though. If you use the gas directly it is pretty effective and efficient… or you could have a woodburner or a pellet fire and do a fair job as well.

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  39. Trevor says “if a LED light or CFL uses 1/5 of the energy, then it is 400%, not 500% more efficient.”

    Yes – I stand corrected – the output is 500% for the same power, or 400% more.

    The point is if we can be 2.5% more efficient every year, then we won’t need to build new generation.

    And light bulbs in the last few years have become 400% more efficient. Heat pumps are 300% more efficient than normal electric heaters, new heatpump water heaters are significantly more efficient etc etc.

    New houses are significantly more insulated, NZ designed shower heads now feel more powerful but use so much less hot water that they save 100% of their cost in just 9 months (compared to 10-20 years for a solar water heater).

    However what will fuel the need to build more generation is people switching from fires to heat pumps, and the need to charge our electric cars.

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  40. Gareth says “The report acknowledges oil prices will be up, greenhouse gas emissions from energy will be up a staggering 40-50% on 1990 levels by 2030″

    This is misleading. The report says emissions from the energy sector will be at 40% above 1990 levels – WHICH IS EXACTLY THE SAME AS THEY ARE NOW.

    When you consider NZs population has gone up 30% since 1990, then our emmissions from the energy sector up 40% is only a 10% increase on a per capita basis.

    If emissions remain as they are now, as predicted, and population keeps going up at the same rate as it has been, then the emmissions per capita will be much LESS in 2030 than in 1990.

    The report says if there is to be new investment in renewable energy, then power prices will need to increase at 1% greater than inflation.

    Gareth complains about the price increase to pay for new renewable generation, immediately after saying we need to build more renewable energy.

    Do you think renewable power generation builds itslf for free???

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  41. The impact on households should be roughly neutral. Although electricity prices will rise, household use of electricity should fall as appliances become more efficient, resulting in an annual electricity bill about the same.

    Trevor.

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  42. I question one assumption in the Energy Outlook. As oil prices rise, drilling for oil will increase and gas is often associated with oil. Therefore they expect more gas to become available for electricity generation. But if there is a big difference in the price of oil with respect to gas, then users of oil will look at switching to gas. The main user of oil is the transport sector, so expect to see more use of gas for transport, such as CNG conversions for petrol powered vehicles or perhaps gas turbine powered shipping or trucks. I don’t expect to see low priced gas as the result of high oil prices.

    Trevor.

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  43. A search of the Energy Outlook 2011 document fails to find “marine”, “wave” or “tidal” mentioned anywhere, despite our marine energy resources being world class.

    It also fails to mention “Peak Oil” anywhere, although there are mentions of gas supplies tightening and oil prices rising. What isn’t mentioned is where they expect to be able to import oil from.

    Trevor.

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  44. It has also been pointed out that if New Zealand gets a decent gas surplus and there is a significant difference in the price of gas here to overseas, it will be worth while exporting the gas in the form of LNG, which will lift the gas prices here to a level comparable with overseas prices. Even if we don’t export gas in the form of CNG or LNG, we could turn it into methanol and export it in liquid form.

    If we have alternative renewable options, wasting the gas by burning it in fixed installations to generate power or for heating would cost us in the long run through lost overseas earnings or higher import costs for oil.

    Trevor.

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