National Government running opposite way on climate change

It only took outgoing Climate Change Minister Tim Groser a few hours after the Paris climate talks to throw cold water over any idea that the National Government might have been inspired to turn over a new leaf on climate policy.

Groser spoke to Morning Report on Monday arguing that New Zealand’s climate policy will not need to change following Paris.

Groser, who has now been replaced by Paula Bennett, barely tried to hide that the National Government had decided to spend its remaining years in power holding off real action to transition New Zealand to a low carbon economy.

The Government has just signed up to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels”. It is astonishingly brazen to now claim this will require nothing more of New Zealand.

Its own emissions reduction target, of 11 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, is the equivalent of a 3.5-3.8 degree temperature rise if adopted by all other countries.

Imagine if every country did the same thing, returned home having signed up to the Agreement and told their populations that they don’t need to do anything to meet the terms of the deal?

By contrast, France, which had already committed to a stronger emissions target than New Zealand, signalled it is going to increase its own carbon target in light of the Agreement, and put more money on the table to help developing countries adapt. That’s leadership.

The National Government is making policy decisions right now that are long-lasting. By continuing to actively support heavily polluting parts of the economy today – be it deep sea oil and gas exploration, expansion of intensive dairying, or foot-dragging on clean transport options – the National Government is actively undermining our ability to meet our climate target.

Without National changing course now, when we go back to the UN in 2023 to put forward a more ambitious climate target, New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions will have already increased by approximately 23 percent.

The National Government’s behaviour post Paris is the worst example of passing the buck to future governments and future generations to sort out.

Leading American climate campaigner Bill McKibben likened the global effort to limit warming to 1.5 degrees to a world-record marathon race. He described the world’s response to the Paris talks thus far as “engaging in the kind of impressive-looking stretching that runners enjoy at the start line”.

If the National Government is even in the race it has missed the starting gun, closed its eyes and started running the opposite way.

In avoiding its obligations, the National Government is not only bludging off the efforts of other countries to restrain global warming, its also missing out on the opportunities of transitioning to a cleaner, more modern economy.

There is lots that can be done today, right now, to clean up New Zealand’s climate pollution, for example in the transport, energy, agricultural and waste. The Green Party showed how, earlier this year with our pragmatic plan for how New Zealand can reduce emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels.

Here are some relatively simple changes the National Government could make in the New Year.

  • Clean transport: incentivising electric vehicles and fast tracking the City Rail Link so Auckland can start the transition away from congested roads and fossil fuelled transport.
  • Committing New Zealand to 100 percent renewable electricity generation by 2025.
  • An end to dirty investment: divesting the ACC and Superannuation funds out of fossil fuel companies.
  • A new clean economy: a minimum carbon price of $25 and establishing a Green Investment Bank to mobilise public and private investment in the clean economy.

The Paris Agreement calls on every country in the world to lift their game. Far from shrugging our shoulders at it, New Zealand needs to step up.

72 Comments Posted

  1. One change the government could make relatively easily would be to direct its own departments to consider hybrid or electric vehicles for new fleet purchases, and to consider converting new or newish vehicles to run on CNG. Many private motorists buy second hand cars and it isn’t worth converting them to CNG because of the lower remaining milage for these vehicles, but they would consider buying pre-converted cars, or hybrids or fully electric vehicles if they were available in the second hand market.


  2. The male co-leader in Germany is a Biologist.
    Please, may we understand the difference between two camps:

    Environmental Economics sees:
    -systems LOGICALLY
    -Darwin’s theory on COMPETITIVE evolution

    Ecological Economics sees:
    -systems as INTERDEPENTENT
    -Darwin’s theory on COOPERATIVE evolution

    Both camps want positive environmental outcomes – but one side is more vulnerably to negative political influence. (Monbiot 2014)

    Our current NZ Green Party has drifted from a Values Party based in the Ecological camp,
    to a new vulnerable position within the Environmental camp.

    This issue can be positively addressed before the next election – I’m looking forward to working cooperatively and to build interdependent working relationships. To allow the Greens to compete for votes, towards action against the logical problem of climate change.

    Best regards,
    Dale Simpson of Coroglen

  3. JohnW made a solid post, so scroll down if just joining us now. Sorry Trevor – try to think of this from the position of normal voters, peolpe like your cousins, uncles and anties. People who aren’t educated as engineers and scientists. This isn’t bout the view of you and I. But hey, I’ve studied both sides, not just one side, so I can defeat you position on this issue. But it’s a looooooong debate.

    The average voter on the Coromandel knows that science is off track, they just don’t know which way is better.

    quick example – you’re telling me that science can predict the future better than the Catholic Church! The Church would disagree. I would just say, you have underestimated the influence that the Church has on this world – especially politically. Kennedy Grahem’s last blog post made this point clear.

    You talk about evolution. Ok, look at the ratios between the geographic diamensions of the moon, earth and sun. You will find mathmatical (pure science) reasons to question evolutoin theory – our solar systme is too perfect. No – sorry this isn’t saying it’s created by god – you thought that, not me. – but this is a massive problem for bj’s first sentence. I can block most of your 1000 words in this fashion. but it’s will take more than 100,000 from me.

    …look at the relationship to the old imperial measurements like the foot, yard, and royal mile., see how they fit geographical measurement knowledge of the earth and moon, from a pre-science time. This is too deep your scientists, so think from a voters perspective please.

    But forget the LSD guys. We should be looking closer at the war politics – this is the root of all politics.

    Then we came back with policy toward peace – then we have won.

  4. I agree almost 100% with BJ’s last two posts. The only line I don’t fully accept is “WE know that it is wrong to pay foreigners for things we can make ourselves.”. I would regard that as undesirable rather than wrong, depending a lot on comparative advantage. Being totally dependent on foreigners is a serious risk, so I certainly agree with where you are coming from.

    The reasons behind policies need to be publicised, and that includes the reasoning behind accepting global warming and ocean acidification despite the claims of the NActs and Republicans, the Wall Street Journal and Exxon Mobil. I’d also add the Business Round Table to that list too.


  5. Dale – I’m afraid I can’t share your dispute with science.

    * Our advantage in terms of evolution, our position at the top of the food chain, our status as the apex predator on the planet, is based on our ability to know what the future holds, to predict what the animal will do, to know that the seasons change and when harvests planting need to be done. Basically our ability to understand and manipulate our environment gives us advantage and the better we understand the better we live.

    * “Science” is the most accurate means of understanding nature and reality. It is a tool to keep our little monkey brains from getting in the way. The processes – including peer review – aren’t perfect, but no scientist in any but the most restricted field, has the ability to read and analyze the all of the papers in that field. Can’t be done by a human. At the same time all scientists want to get information about the most important things everyone else is doing in their field. So we have peer review processes and you can trust me on this, if you can come up with something better they’d probably go for it. Each scientist in the field gets to read some of the other scientist’s work and suggest ways to present it better, or refer them to someone who has already done the same thing, or simply say “rubbish” while pointing at some boneheaded error. Which happens. In doing that only one person’s time is wasted. If there is a better way, tell us all what it is.

    * The disadvantage of peer review is that unusual ideas may get rubbished too. So it slows things down that we might like to see sped up. That appears to be an unavoidable problem… one which reviewers are aware of and they try with varying success, to fairly review articles that disagree with their own views. As hard as we are working on it, we still have no substitute for humans waiting in the wings… so we have to use processes geared to human failings and we have to understand the nature of those failings. We have to get some of the paywalls out of the system. We have to remember that the paper isn’t perfect when it is published, it is merely probably good enough to warrant reading, and reviewers can be wrong about that too.

    Science is “reductionist” because it has to be. Larger problems are understood more easily that way. It is not however, the wrong way to understand the world, and it leaves out a deity where the introduction of one is not necessary. As an Engineer I am also “reductionist”, and I know at least one God’s name. I worship Murphy in all his many manifestations. I know he exists because

    a. Time is nature’s way of keeping everything from happening all at once.
    b. Murphy however, makes everything bad happen at the same time.
    c. Murphy is therefore, more powerful than nature.
    d. The only thing more powerful than nature is a god.
    e. Murphy is a god. Q.E.D. 🙂

    None of this discusses the use to which we put our understanding. That we can exploit some part of the natural world does not imply that this is a good (or bad) idea to do so. In this we have most of our disagreement with the other parties and our emphasis on longer views and more comprehensive values is pretty clear. Climate emphasizing greens are also peace loving. I haven’t noticed anyone who didn’t regard that non-violent core principle as being important. Some think it is overriding. I don’t. I have an “extra” principle which is that none of that matters if we don’t survive. So we have a defense policy.

    As to the long shot of trying to get two parties out of the single Green party, dividing (I think unnecessarily) along lines that allow Catherine to lead her own charge… I don’t see it. I’d rather see us get to a realistic level of pragmatism and hold that. I’ve outlined the changes the party could make, and they are not very large and they are grounded in the science. What difference does this have from the values you are looking for?

    WE know that we cannot eat money. Nor swim in it. Nor breathe it (thinking of China’s smog). WE know that it is immoral for us to buy “stuff” at the expense of future generations. WE know that it is wrong to pay foreigners for things we can make ourselves. WE know that it is wrong to sell assets to pay for more “stuff”.

  6. sorry bj you’re off track again – if you’ve just joined, do scroll down and read JohnW’s solid comment. I’ve got a science degree mate, and trust me – science is crap. Pair review is crap. The publishing has bias. Corporate influence goes without saying. Hey, under science, God doesn’t even exist. The reductionism of science has done just that – reduced itsself down to a joke. Have I overstate?

    Back to core issues – like oil, war and media. The media will eat us for breakfast at the next election – I see no serious strategy from the Greens. My gamble on Catherine winning the Coromandel might look crazy if you read the 2014 poling, but how much positive media coverage would an civilised split bring us? Massive! Or? Our guys have the skills, we just need the media attention. (Or have I miss-understood the electoral funding and other detail?)

  7. Any party, Greens or whatever, has to have purpose beyond being elected.

    I’d say this is quite true, and Labour seems to have proved the point quite neatly in terms of their lack of purpose and their electoral problems. However, I haven’t been describing a complete abandonment of standards here. What I have been talking about is that Greens have to make it clear that we’re putting climate issues first. We’re not going to waste time on all the conspiracy theories… we’re not going to spend effort opposing hydro because it’s not perfectly located or wind because it is unsightly (I happen to think that the wind turbines are beautiful things), we’re not against farmers or manufacturers, just that we’re in favour of keeping our environment livable. We value social responsibility and equality and collective action and the group… there are things that are more important to us than profit in a distorted market.

    Energy alone cannot make up the shortfall consequences of over shoot.

    Perhaps true, it has done wonders in taking care of shortfalls however, and can greatly mitigate consequences. The use of energy to feed people is part of the reason for the delay in seeing consequences already. Too clever for our own good? Civilization has to survive for any of our values to matter though, and if it hasn’t enough energy, our civilization will NOT survive.

    A narrow narrative seeking a path beyond what the best science is not supporting may be tempting and comforting but just helps stifle effective more effective discussion and that can be an expected situation.

    Not understood. What are we talking about here?

    There is no cohesive credible plan.
    True – the IPCC represents the whole world and each part is different. The Paris Accord is about the whole world and each nation is different. The need to alter the outcome is recognized, the means to that end are varied. If there is a cohesive plan it is presented by Hansen, and others (myself being one of the smaller voices raised for this) – a tax or fee levied on CO2 emission, refunded to people and rising to levels that make almost ridiculous the notion of burning fossil fuels for energy. That’s the clearest effort.

    The Paris Accord now provides a defense against the WTO lawsuits that penalize people for making competing solar panels and doing other things that benefit

    Already many feel there is a loosening of Green’s core values to accommodate business concerns.

    At the same time however, there are strong arguments to make about the emissions of livestock… they do emit, but they also consume. It isn’t reasonable to think about them as being net emitters because they are very much a part of a closed portion of the carbon cycle. So any discussion of a “fart tax” has to be able to justify it some other way and I don’t know of one. Not scientifically anyway. The thing that farmers and this government continuously get wrong is the notion that we can feed more people and farm more intensively – but that the quality of rivers and the damage done to the land by some of the fertilizers and pesticides, and the energy embodied in the production of those chemicals… those are all fair game.

    At the same time there are more potential nuclear processes available than the pressurized light water reactions that give us the waste problem and a source for nuclear weapons. New Zealand doesn’t need nukes, we’re in the roaring 40’s and we can use the wind. However, the knee-jerk reaction to the word nuclear doesn’t help the planet. Making it clear that we’re not changing our stance on weapons, and not advocating it for New Zealand because WE have alternatives we should still accept that the world will need more and better nuclear plants if our civilization is to survive the next century.

    Reasons are given. Always. Following the science, Always. These things do not loosen our core values… they reinforce them. If there is a core value of the Greens that I have savaged in these discussions I do not know what it would be. The Greens cannot provide simple reactions against progress, industry or profit… they have to work through the reasons and look further into the future.

    The discussion of money that we dipped into has a lot to do with the way we perceive commerce and understand how the market is distorted. It also contains the seeds of the solution to this problem, a solution that the few remaining social democrats might recognize. UBI to make the automation less worrisome , a land tax to make speculation in property less profitable. The whole package ties together pretty well.

    The four steps James outlined in his piece would be a good start. The realization that the free market isn’t will take some time longer. Getting over 15% of the vote will come if we stick to reasoned positions.

  8. Thanks JohnW for such a professional over-view – forgive my simplistic summary.

    Yes – at the core, it’s oil and war politics in the Middle East – affecting the whole world, including NZ.
    Yes – the Greens should continue to focus on reducing NZ’s oil dependency – especially where this overlaps with climate change policy – as the media are offering votes for climate politics we can make ground.

    But can the Greens really agree on this? Or will we set our selves us as “climate crazies” and drop the ball on a classic media-show double-cross? A split between Greens (climate and urban) and Values (rural and peace) would create two options for voters. Could we recreate a political spectrum based on values? Pray that media loose their grip and the popularist National/Labour party becomes extinct.

    Depends on getting Catherine over the line – and her personal view on all. I would offer to get seasonal work with LIC in the Thames Valley and fully support her campaign with down-to-earth rural action. I would join the shooters club in Waihi. And give Thames a proper regional gift-voucher. Even get naked and smoke pot in the streets of Whitianga, if that’s what it takes 🙂

  9. No matter how much evidence is found there will always be those who choose to select what suits them and maintain a stance they feel secure with. Enough has been fabricated about the 911 story and the official conspiracy announcements by Bush seem to stick with many. The variations of explanations is confusing to most and much of that appears deliberate.

    Demolition is plain until another explanation is forthcoming which also fits all the massive evidence now supporting demolition. Pigs might fly, depending on what you redefine flying as.

    A litany of deceit. Nothing new in that.

    The middle East invasion hinged on public support, which was not there before the 911 campaign. The orchestration is clear enough and now we argue about who composed the music.
    The inconsistencies continue including a raft of lies about Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Al-Qaeda…… coming from both the US and Israel and satellites.. Unbelievable at best.

    The bigger picture about energy seem to be missing. A narrow narrative seeking a path beyond what the best science is not supporting may be tempting and comforting but just helps stifle effective more effective discussion and that can be an expected situation. Energy alone cannot make up the shortfall consequences of over shoot.

    CCS with all its limitations is much more expensive, dangerous and less effective than a change of direction. But we will need to change our economic system and provisions of basic needs.

    A plan of a long term structure for that with immediate action, is missing. Groping in the dark will not do much. Reading the IPCC mitigation plan is enlightening and disappointing. There is no cohesive credible plan.

    “I don’t have a plan so nothing can go wrong.” – Spike Milligan.

    Any party, Greens or whatever, has to have purpose beyond being elected. Deviating from that purpose will harm the party’s credentials in the eye of the public. The Greens should be careful before expanding their present political position. Already many feel there is a loosening of Green’s core values to accommodate business concerns.

  10. thanks bj – our thoughts on these issues have more common ground than they do differences.

    Agreed – enough 911 blah blah – just that it is one of the potential cornerstones of political world view. Current NATO politics is more relevant, but that New Pearl Harbour video is more solid than the detail on Syria or Ukraine. I use CIA as an umbra term that includes dark companies that get their endless money from the dirty sales of weapons. And I agree that US Military are generally solid, accept for Malta and other dark knight connections, Cheney, etc, mainly in top ranks. Seems these darkest of the dark are slowly loosing power. Fingers crossed that that dark power isn’t simply shifting to China – they will be trying their best to penetrate deep into that eastern-core.

    Sorry – hoax regarding the warming isn’t diplomatic from me. But hoax regarding the mechanism I would still push. There is more to it than just GHGs. I do see the chem-trails and HAARP technologies playing the key roll. Plus other dark technologies likely to exist beyond my knowledge. Some scientific smugging too – with a scientific education system so reductionist it can hardly stand-up-straight – but that isn’t the primary issue here. These technologies can also play a positive roll – so no doom-n-gloom required. It really depends who is at the helm of a few specific military-connected control-companies. So the real solution to climate change is taking political control. Political control of politics its self, ideally, but political control of these technologies would also be a game changer This tech is currently run by “dark knights” and the like. GHG emission control is also require – I can’t argue against that. But it must be a balanced political approach. Canceling plans for regional gas and shutting off coal is no solution if it means continuing to buy oil from militants and bio-diesel from dead orangutans

    Guess this is why I’m pushing regional currencies as the solution to make teh situation clear to all, the capital-market is the core of their power-network. Yes – I’ll make a trip south to see some Cheimgauer. But it’s mainly the critical-mass with the local cooperative I need – in the new year – fingers crossed. And the printing of professional vouchers, and other minor detail. My currency detail matches quite close with the ideas of a few other key locals here, so that should come-clear.

    Hope your family aren’t goin crazy with you watching those videos for Christmas 🙂 Things here get a bit rough like that sometimes – but many political minds are coming together towards positive change at the moment – Cheers Bro

  11. Pay careful attention. There is NO CLIMATE HOAX.

    I really did work at JPL, and just down the corridor from Rignot (one of the Ice people). I know scientists. I worked on AVIRIS. I worked on a Mars Rover. The scared you see in the papers isn’t half the scared they actually are. The climate is destabilizing underneath the feet of a civilization that has come to depend on it utterly. Lifeboat Earth is capsizing. They have been telling us about it for decades and the facts don’t seem to matter… and they won’t for only a few more years and then they will.

    I am sure there is not a single thing you can present to me that makes the science of the warming untrue… I haven’t seen a new argument in years but you are invited to try if you really think you have a hoax to discuss. I don’t care much about Darth Cheney, and finding the correct theory to explain all of 911 is a matter of very little attention. I DO care about getting the approach to climate correct. That’s about my kid’s future.

  12. Good that you’ve realized the VP (Cheney) could have been committing high treason… (Bush was never capable of or competent to pull anything like that off… his role as Cheney’s sock puppet is well understood). We’ve known Cheney for a long time and I personally have always assumed his guilt. The native New York crap detector always did go off when he spoke. A lot like John Key in that regard. Thing is that the number of people like him is really quite small, and not nearly as common at the sharp end as it is at the top.

    One thing to disabuse yourself of, is the notion that Americans working for the CIA or for Cheney directly or in any part of the armed forces had any role in actually setting explosives in any building. That’s in no way possible. Cheney has a long reach… and was always corrupt enough… but for any alternative theory to work the number of people who actually know what is being done has to be microscopic. What I saw in your vid was a lot of people who see part of the result, and what they see does not make sense, but it does not make the broad speculations true. I was part of the team that did the airborne analysis of the fallen asbestos and the hidden fires in the rubble. AVIRIS is the instrument, google AVIRIS and JPL

    The other more important thing to disabuse yourself of, is the notion that it matters here, matters to the Green Party or even to me personally. Even though my decision to move my family to New Zealand is loosely related to it. The reasons it is not relevant are: It is a symptom, not a cause; It is the USA, not here; It is in the past, not in the present.

    The sickness that the USA suffers from goes back to Vietnam… and further… back to Jekyll Island. Leaving it behind is wisdom enough.

    The reason I don’t commonly discuss it has to do with that irrelevance and a strong desire not to give people some additional reason/opening to discount what I say about other things that remain relevant… like climate, money, energy, or the treacherous nature of John Key.

    This is something we have to work with… the way the world is munted is going to haunt our kids but fixing blame for 911 isn’t important. Getting elected is important and we can’t educate everyone about everything at once and get elected.

    This is what we aim to stop. Worrying about the past will prevent us dealing with the present.

  13. Thanks mate, but 5% is only a problem on the Values Party side. I think we would manage it well and the Greens could only win from the publicity. But only Catherine could make that split decision based on her personal perspective on the Climate Hoax and the real chance of dropping out if she doesnt’ take the Coromandel. I wander what oldlux and John W think of the staged-split strategy? People like them probably know Catherine personally and could talk over coffee sometime in January. And we could clearly adjust the strategy according to pre-election poling, whether the Values party competes in the party vote or not. So only risk is for Catherine. Greens should win either way – the media will love head-lines like “Fart Tax Split”, the James and Metiria both have the skills to use media coverage to our advantage. My Mum say she has heard nothing of the Greens lately… media ah. Even after Key’s monster comment – in a real democracy he would have found himself unemployed after saying that. The media decide if we get over 10% or not – lets be honest about that, please. And surely the current world crisis, crisis in EVERYTHING is going to get people like me active about the climate hoax and more. 5hours on WTC isn’t so festive, but ALL answers are there, except for a tech issue with demolition explosive quality, but just go StarWars on that minor detail – only CIA can plant tons of explosives in three buildings in center of NY – that is clear, (and how is was done is fully documented). And obviously it’s Bush-empire approved – look at the air-force’s anti-response – overflowing with court-room quality detail. And it’s even more clear that THREE building in NY didn’t fall down in FREE-FALL SPEED, due to office fires. But never mind all that old crap. NATO’s own poles say 70% of Syrian people want Assad to stay. Do you need links?

    I would lay-off the LSD and back Catherine’s campaign – probably get a down-to-earth part-time job on the Coromandel with LIC, insemination cows – connect to the rural community and all that.

    Peace n Love

  14. Funny that… the Fart tax is another thing I tend to argue with the party. Those three aspects… the fart tax, the resistance to hydro where hydro is possible/reasonable and the hostility to anything that has the word nuclear in it. 🙂 – and with that I think we’d get over 15% without splitting.

    I am simply not convinced that a split could work. I regard the notion as dangerous in the extreme, but if I thought it COULD work I’d be accepting of it. The 5% threshold is too high, is higher than the recommended 3% IIRC and tweaking that value ought to be party policy as well. EVEN if it saves ACT and brings in the Conservative hoons on the other side.

    As for the WTC – I didn’t say “who” did it, just that it was not the US government and that a ground based component to that attack might well have been mounted by the terrorists and covered up by the government and not gotten an argument from anyone involved. Anything else comes up against the realities of physics or the normal reactions of the people who would be getting the orders.

    As for the Air Force getting some weekend warrior up in a plane armed with live weapons and authorized to take down an airliner filled with citizens over a populated area… that delay is about understanding the reality and making very tough decisions… much easier in hindsight than while we are looking at the events unfold. Easier now too, as there will be standing orders to cover the situation. The prevention of that event would have required something that Bush never had, intelligence. I’ll suggest a book for you… might find it in the library – Al Franken does a good job of discussing the failures of the Bush “team” in dealing with what the Clinton team told them was coming. Also, he’s funny… a good book.

    Y’all have a good Christmas and don’t forget the visit to Chiemgauer where local currency with demurrage is being used.


  15. Dear All,

    The Fart Tax Split – Values Party breaks from the Greens

    The Greens will sail-home on the young and urban vote by backing fully backing Climate issues, but a Values Party could make big ground on the rural and elderly vote by rejecting the fart-tax and reaching out on rural issues.

    The Nats won on the back of a strong milk price. But now that milk price is down and the FED is raising interest rates. The rural community are looking at their options.

    The Values Party could take the Coromandel – with the support of Jeanette, Harry and a strong rural affairs strategy. Farmers are hurting, and the Coromandel are both sick of, and dependent on Tourists. As recession sinks in, the Coromandel will turn on the Nats (and no-one there likes labour).

    The Greens will sail home on Climate Change now that the Vatican if fuelling climate change media.

    A Green/Values Party alliance could easily take 15% of the seats in house, and the Nats will never get 50% ever again.

    Merry Christmas

  16. Ok bjchip, sorry I’m not fitting the official view on stuff, but we’re not bloggin on national tv here – a bit of truth here isn’t going to lose votes. It’s putting your head in the sand that will lose votes (unless your backed by the media – Or are we willing to accept votes from Rupert Murdoch in exchange for support on a climate-change hedging agreement?)

    WTC7 – no plane -> inside job – only question is how deep was the corruption? Well, if you can imagine the job of controlled demolition of three sky-scrapper…. The corruption was deeeeeeeeeeep. If you look at the air-force’s response time to stop the second plane from hitting (hours!!!!!!) the corruptions was deeeeeeeeeep.

    Video footage of firemen running from explosions in the basement, control-tower whistle-blower, etc…. Available!!!!
    5hours of information dense whistle-blowing (which you just said there wasn’t), well it’s not everyone’s idea of Christmas, but here it is:

    The New Pearl Harbour – September 11

    Actually, your middle-ground WTC view which you say is “little spoken”, is the current official view of the US Govt; their changing story currently blames it on the Saudi’s…. So for who are you actually blogging, bjchip? Accidental or other, your current view places you as a troll for the US Govt. Sorry, bro.
    If anything still seems unexplainable, just think StarWars, because that’s more believable than the fluid crap of the official stage-show.

    A can’t believe you just said “Sue Bradford”, in any context – I considered mentioning her last week, but thought better of it within half-a-second. Accept perhaps to say something like, “she was a close friend of Catherine’s”; thus demonstrating Catherine’s political skills as someone who can work positively with anyone. Catherine would nail the Coromandel – she would gain a huge support team for a campaign, especially if the Greens supported a positively controlled alliance. She must only NEVER mention “climate-change”. And quote that Green Monk cartoon, when under heavy fire. I’ve even seen National Party voters positively quote Catherine’s statements on education. The Greens would still achieve the 5% vote without breaking a sweet. The result would be 50% more seats in the house – that’s my felling.

  17. If everyone burns coal for process X, and every gets a price increase due to some form of carbon charging, then everyone raises their prices together, and nothing changes.

    The point to the charges is that if they are high enough, the alternative method allows production of whatever-it-is with NO charge and a lower price to everyone but a higher profit margin anyway. That’s how the change happens, and it happens far more easily for most things than with something like Steel production that is based on processes that are not easily replaced without replacing the entire facility.

    Someone somewhere will build a whole new plant only when THAT makes economic sense, but the plant could be built by gummint directly if we want to keep the production of steel, and bearings and other things in reach. There is good enough reason to do it, even if the will to do it is currently lacking.

    New Zealanders have been chugging the Neo-Liberal kool-aid for almost 3 decades now. The country is in worse shape in terms of its ability to stand on its own and the inequality of its citizens, than it was at the beginning of that period. The destruction of our environment is another real result.. and its reality threatens the followers of National’s flag.

    To change it requires a change in the terms of the debate, and that means that the media have to be tricked or coerced into reporting the truth, including the bits that don’t get anywhere near the current Overton window. That’s the only way I know of, to shift an Overton window.

  18. With enough energy at our disposal almost everything is possible, including extraction of CO2 from the atmosphere itself. Which argues for a lot more renewable generation than we’ve imagined.

    My guess is that the smaller generators could knock out as much as 80% of our domestic use. That’s as far as that gets though… we can probably afford the pinwheels but we can’t afford the batteries.

    To pick up the power to charge our vehicles we could still be using more of them. That gets us further but the electric vehicle replacement of petrol and diesel is going to be a long time happening.

    My question is how much more do we need for the industrials and to what degree can locating the industrial processes on South Island where the power is, be done.

  19. However the respective companies might have a closer look if CO2 prices climb up from under $10 per tonne towards $100 per tonne or higher, and there is more low-cost off-peak electricity available.

    I wish I shared your optimism, but I think the answer is “unlikely”. Just pass the increased costs due to carbon taxation on to the consumer, much simpler.

    This is, in my opinion, that attempting to change behavior with taxation simply doesn’t work, unless the consumer has a choice between products on price. If everyone burns coal for process X, and every gets a price increase due to some form of carbon charging, then everyone raises their prices together, and nothing changes.

    Carbon charges are almost always a simple method of legitimising emissions. “I’m paying the carbon charges, therefore I’m OK and need do nothing further”.

  20. One way of reducing our CO2 emissions is to change some of our industrial processes to use electricity rather than fossil fuels. An example of this is the generation of hydrogen. Presently hydrogen is generated by steam reformation of natural gas (methane) at two sites in New Zealand that I know of – the Marsden Point oil refinery, and the ammonia-urea plant. Steam reformation of natural gas results in just hydrogen and CO2. If we use electrolysis to generate the hydrogen, then that is CO2 that we don’t need to emit. However this requires surplus low cost electricity, such as would be produced by wind farms on warm nights.

    Another process that could be changed is iron and steel manufacturing, which currently uses high grade coal to reduce the iron oxide and to provide heat, but emitting CO2 in the process. There are alternatives using electricity with or without hydrogen to manufacture the iron or steel without needing fossil fuels, but major changes would be required to the plant. It is conceivable that the fossil fuel usage could be replaced without major changes by such means as using electricity for some pre-heating of the materials and/or co-firing some charcoal with the coal.

    These changes won’t happen while fossil fuel prices are low and CO2 charges are low. However the respective companies might have a closer look if CO2 prices climb up from under $10 per tonne towards $100 per tonne or higher, and there is more low-cost off-peak electricity available.

    Rather than subsidising fossil fuels, the government should be subsidising the (>50% state-owned) power companies’ development of renewable generation.


  21. I don’t think a split would serve either Values or Greens. It realistically only works (with the 5% threshold) if there is a strong leader able to carry an electorate. Look at what Sue Bradford almost accomplished with her nonsense. The problem is getting ordinary people to deal with the truth… and that means NOT serving it up in great indigestible chunks and it also means finding a way to create honest press and shifting the Overton Window. That last part is the only one that is advantaged by having two parties of this sort.

  22. Again… make the necessary adjustments to your theories about WTC and you might get a better fit.

    Assume that the planes were the only instruments of destruction in use and you have serious problems about the mechanics and physics of the event.

    Assume that the attack was all done by the US government and you have serious problems about the absolute secrecy and absolute compliance of all the actors in the event. No such plot could exist without being exposed. One could not find enough Americans capable of that sort deception in service of anything so damaging to the USA.

    Assume that there was a ground component of the attack but that knowledge of it was suppressed “for the good of the nation” and you get all those patriotic urges that would have blown the whistle in the preceding paragraph, now working to keep it quiet. You also resolve the problem of the physics and mechanics.

    Note that this last one has achieved zero publicity. The others are presented widely. What is getting looked at? I’d be unsurprised to find US intelligence “emcouragement” in some form, given to the conspiracy theorists. After all, it distracts everyone from the story they don’t want examined and discredits anyone who even thinks about it.


  23. Well BJ – thanks for trying – you must mean we’ll get there with democracy. Well, as you’re an activist for a political party, I fully sympathise with that view. Good luck will winning all those votes – my hot tip is to split the party on friendly terms and support each other to both find seats. Would certainly increase support from across the political spectrum, if there was full pre-agreement and pre-planning.

    “Just the way it is…” you say. No – the half of the links that I read did explain how and way it isn’t the way it is. (guess you lack the background knowledge – it’s not something you click-on in-a-day) Hey, I don’t actually support nuke-power at all – just wanted u guys to open your eyes to the world around you. Look at Japan’s nuke disasters – real terrorism is easy. That stuff in Ukraine and Paris, they aren’t terror attacks, that’s just sport for plutocrats. If you read the media on BOTH sides, it’s just obvious.

    “Do I see the difference?” No, do you mean democracy?, Haha, vote for Bernie Sanders n all that. Or do you mean his last point about taking a holiday? If you mean holiday, perhaps you need your own advice. How long have you been blogging here? Is Bill M’s blah-blah more than an just an empty column say the obvious?

    Can you understand this link talking about both your Bill Moyer and my Karen Hudes? (I can’t)

    Yes – I’ve only read one of your two books, but guess this is the articles point. On the flip side, a world without heroes is the status quo, bugger. (and most of the R Donalds are dead) And contrary to your article, I was without heroes in-my-mind as I grow-up. Or was this the mind-bend win for your camp that I just walked into? Who cares bro. I came from a National party family but changed to the Greens at about 18years. Actually, also liked the ass-kick style of the ACT party when I was 18, but slowly gained education. At 28 years I heard the 911 attack was an inside job, from a very high quality source. But didn’t really think of that or click or care for many more years, tilI I studied the UN’s Millennium Goals in detail – that was when the Star Wars Universe started to make more sense! A Star Wars reality makes more logical connections than The Guardian’s reality. Bill Moyer sounds like a stepping stone towards what you’re understandably not ready for – it’s not a vote winner. If Bill was to say a best guess at what the full truth might be, he would be R Donald re-written (just guessing his death was a black-art, fits the political pattern, Spain’s great Green leader exactly the same).

    Can’t believe you tried to dis-credit that Pair-Review article that I posted. I thought the second article on digital science publishing was the less strong of the two.

    Seriously though, I wander what Catherine’s view on Climate Change will become, as she would have solid support from a The Values Party back on the Coromandel. Plus the Greens would be safe to cross 5% It’s a win-win, and to parties based on values could only work well together.

    This link to a nice carton is what I think a Values Party position would be on the subject.

    What If We Create a Better World For Nothing?

  24. Corodale – You realize that he’s basically talking about a Molten Salt Reactor. Which was never fully built. There are some relatively easy engineering problems to solve, but to date the places working on them are limited in number. China will beat us to it.

    I don’t want the party to get bogged down quixotic efforts to convince people that there are conspiracies about stuff that just happens to be the way it is. For instance… why is clockwise the direction IT is?

    Identifying the real corporate control issues isn’t hard either…

    …but do you see the difference in approach?

    Hardcore libertarian that guy in your video. Providing some real nonsense relating to the NOAA temperature dataset. Such things are not conducive to getting me to listen… but I recognized what he was talking about anyway.

    Thing to remember about Atlas Shrugged and Lord of the Rings…

  25. Interesting. How we got into this mess seems to be largely ignored.

    Stop gap measures aiming at maintaining present economics will not do, as at best they are likely to increase the problem or consume time while the problem gets worse.

    Adjust the economy, drastically reduce consumption and look after resilience in the area of providing very basic needs. Local is less damaging and works. Food for local consumption and drinking water are basic and yet those provisions are being lost or in peril

    As climate shifts then adapting what we grow and where, does not mean new irrigation schemes which are resource intensive to build and maintain.

    Look after the soil not the bankers profits.

    We are busy running scared of the economic strangle hold in place which ensures the rich get richer and the planet responds as a consequence.

    Keep looking for solutions that don’t address consumption and wealth distribution and you will get more of the same as you have now, not in terms of meeting basic needs but a plethora of technological and fashion distractions, which are temporary, wasteful of resources but comforting to some.

    Nothing relevant can be expected of NACT as they so plainly work for a small sector of wealth, much of it off for shore parasites who have power that we have given them. Share prices matter more to their investor state drivers than future survival of populations..

    Do find information which will help understanding that a camel will not fit through the eye of a needle no matter who spins otherwise.

  26. The major N-1 constraint in the North Island is that the HVDC link can only be counted on for 500MW even though it can handle 1200MW. Running it above 500MW requires stations in the North Island to be in a “spinning reserve” state ready to step in should either of the HVDC poles fail. My understanding is that if/when they lay a forth undersea cable and connect it in, the two poles will each have a 700MW rating. I don’t know when this might take place. However this would only allow the HVDC link to be counted on for 700MW.


  27. Yes Trevor you are right that CMD is really Cumec Days but it seemed to be always written as a spelt out acronym in the reports at cubic metre days. Why I don’t know, as there would have been enough pedants in Rutherford House to demand correction.
    I don’t know what the variability day to night in each island is as that isn’t one of the trends I can be bothered creating. The national trend is about 2000MW variation over the winter. Except for big events, like halftime at the rugby world cup, there is very rarely a spike, just a quite smooth curve with a double highs, morning about 9am and night about 8pm. The morning is about 2 hours long and night 3 hours. Unless you are going for significant demand management and load shifting, a non-thermal solution to the control would be very expensive. I don’t know how serious a constraint the N-1 with the uprated Otahuhu to Wairakei spine is nowadays. They are rerunning the numbers with Otahuhu and Southdown closing. That will invariably mean the 2 units at Huntly will be burning coal for quite a while longer – giving the dry year reserve as well as grid support.

  28. So we are in agreement that we really could use Aqua?

    Since the old manuals you reckon are so useful aren’t available to us, and I have a day job and no time to be hunting this sort of thing up, maybe you could share some of what you know instead of playing “gotcha”.

    That would be a good thing, because as I pointed out before, the problem is hard, the solutions are hard, and there isn’t going to be any political will to do it for a few years yet. So we do need all the help we can get. There aren’t a lot of suitable hydro storage locations in North Island. The dearth of energy resources there make the growth of Auckland a major error for our society, but it is what it is.

    Encouraging manufacture and industry on the South Island would make more sense. The energy resources are there… but that’s a long term strategy and difficult at many levels. Not sure it is possible, humans are awfully stubborn about wanting to live in the big cities where there are actual concerts and entertainments. I’m not enough of a social engineer to know how to make that change happen.

    The price of energy is going to be an interesting problem for us Greens. I think I’ve heard good answers though. The price on CO2 has to be presented so that the invisible hand can feel the heat and the incentive, but people need to get that money back so they can choose better and make the incentive real.

    The fact is that there cannot be proven and tested solutions to these problems. Something that Chris asked for (in a way) earlier.

    None have been shown to work reliably on a grid sized project. Even if they did, they can only be justified if the power price becomes prohibitively expensive and fuel poverty becomes a real issue.

    The reason they can’t be shown to work reliably is that they would have had to be developed in the teeth of the heavy subsidies provided to the fossil fuel industries. Which really can’t happen and as a result hasn’t been attempted. The environment is changing. Both environments in fact…. and that means that there will be no choice.

    Right now I’d go with a program of local small wind that relieves pressure on the overall supply. Some places will do better than others. I doubt that my power bill would be a tenth what it is now if I had one of those little turbines here in Wellington. We have to focus on the do-able things.


  29. Chris, I understand the system better than you give me credit for. For example, I understand that CMD might be referred to as Cubic Meter Days but that isn’t actually what the unit is. I also understand that the rules that you try to apply to my ideas you don’t want to apply to your own ideas.

    Having said that, the generationj/storage that you suggest would help. It just wouldn’t help the North Island winter peak demand problem as the Waikato stations and other hydro and geothermal stations don’t have enough output to allow us to shut down the gas-fired stations even with the HVDC link, not if you want N-1 fault tolerance.


  30. Trevor.
    You continually demonstrate that you have no idea of how the system works yet you want to pontificate on the future of the system. Please do a lot more deep reading, rather than just skim articles you find in Google. The old Module 16 from NZE operator training on System Control and Water Management would be a good place to start. And no, you can’t find it on Google, but all the old operators would have retained their copy because the data was so useful.
    The storage of the lakes is generally referenced as MWh/CMD (Cubic Metre Days) as well as in GWh. The former was the more useful for flow management. It takes two forms just that dam and all the generation that can occur on an outflow of a lake or dam. This latter form is the relevant one. If you build additional power stations downstream of that lake, then you can generate more power from the potential of the water. It means the generation storage in GWh of the lakes increases without any more water being stored. All those power station sites s Iisted were downstream of existing significant storage lakes.
    Yes they are in the South Island. They would also be baseloaded stations on run of the river/ canal with little or no storage in themselves. But you can run them at night as reliable dispatchable generation, sending the power north. This allows you to conserve water on the Waikato during the day so many of the generators on it could be two shifted or peaked, rather than base loaded.

  31. “Aqua together with Miller Flat/ Tuapeka Mouth and Luggate would have added about 500MW baselad and 500GWh storage.”

    But aren’t these all on the Waitaki or Clutha Rivers or thereabouts? Didn’t you say ask:
    “And what use is Benmore when you need the power north of Whakamaru?”

    At least Benmore is the south end of the HVDC link. These other sites need transmission lines to get the power to Benmore.

    Me thinks you have changed your tune.


  32. Chris— It is one of those pretend private enterprises that NZ is so fond of, a State Owned Enterprise, so that it HAS to make a profit and then HAS to pay back to government, so it is used as a substitute for actually taxes and is a sham on just about every perceptible level.

    You’re still pretending. That’s pretty limiting. Would you like to try again?

  33. By the way, I note that the Green Party co-leaders rated high winter power bills a bigger story than climate change

    Interesting claim. Perhaps you’d be better advised to ask which they think is more important, instead of trying to make something of nothing.

  34. Chris

    Point of fact some of it is ALREADY being left in the ground. In the long run, apart perhaps for coking coal to make steel, it will be.

    Denigrating people who know, probably better than you do, what the big picture looks like, who of a certainty look further into the future than you do, for disagreeing with your emphasis on today’s distorted economic picture, is counterproductive.

    Now I have been very consistent in disagreeing with Green opposition to additional hydro projects of varying descriptions, including aqua. Argued with them on other points as well. Yet the Greens are more realistic about what is needed here in NZ and for the good of future generations, than any other party. So I am a Green and I make my opinion part of the input. My input is that we need all of it. Every wind generator, hydro plant, solar panel, geothermal system, tide generator and anything else we can think of. I would love to see the government establish research into LFTR technologies even though WE don’t need the things we can use the tech base that it builds and make ourselves something other than a bunch of serfs on farms owned by wealthy Americans, Chinese, or Canadians.

    The problems are much much larger than this little subset of issues.

    The power grid should not be private enterprise. Not in any stretch of imagination or to any degree at all.

    The power supply (major supply from hydro and large wind farms and geothermal sources) – should not be private enterprise either, but the reason for that has to do with the nature of money, not with any aversion to private generation. There’s no natural monopoly involved.

    Settle down and work it out. We are just as smart as you are.

  35. By the way, I note that the Green Party co-leaders rated high winter power bills a bigger story than climate change. They specifically wanted cheaper power. While everything here suggest by bj and Trevor is about making more expensive power. Notice the disconnect?

  36. db provided the answer but it everyone ignored it. Aqua together with Miller Flat/ Tuapeka Mouth and Luggate would have added about 500MW baselad and 500GWh storage.
    And really bj – coal will be left in the ground. Have you told China or India yet? Please come down from your fantasy world and there could be a realistic discussion..

  37. Chris – You are missing the point.

    The coal WILL be turned off. Not it might be, not we’d like it to be… it WILL be left in the ground for the next thousand years. The reason that will happen is that within the next decade and a half the climate will show enough obvious instability that just about every living human will understand that something is happening. Those who understand the science will understand that we’re doing something to our atmosphere that may not be survivable for our civilization.

    So the price of putting more CO2 in the atmosphere is going to go up. The economics you are concentrating on so hard, are going to change, and the technology that is new and untried is going to be made to work.

    From the current $7 to $20 in 2020 and from that to $200 in 2035, and after 2045 it will be worth your life. So whatever power options we develop, and we’d best develop them now, those are what our kids will be stuck with.

    New Zealand is different from any other country on the planet. We have a lot of hydro and geothermal already built and we’re getting more. If we look at projects with the price of CO2 at $200 there isn’t a fossil fuel that is as cheap as the renewables. If we look at widely distributed wind, which is a resource that we have in abundance, even in winter. Those are the things we can build and we build them now. We hold off some on building storage because the tech is not yet there. We can build some to back up critical facilities like hospitals and emergency services.

    Liquified methane, (same as Liquified Natural Gas) is one potential storage medium. Another is liquid ammonia. CH4 and NH3 are both easily adapted to combustion and both potential conversion targets for storage of surplus power.
    or a Haber process for NH3

    In doing this the energy density issue is manageable and the ability to use it for transport is generally achievable. The problem is that the conversions are wasteful. So we have to collect more energy than we actually use. That’s not insurmountable either.

    So Chris, what is your point? That it is uneconomic in current conditions? We already KNOW that. That it cannot be done? No… you aren’t claiming that it can’t be done. So I don’t know what point you’re trying to make here.

    We are looking for a path through the future that allows most of our civilization to get through to the other side of this problem… and the question I have is

    “Can you help?”

  38. Trevor
    Don’t be ridiculous. There have been a lot of projects commissioned that got buried because the big plant didn’t work like the model did. There are uncompleted power stations around the world because the resource wasn’t there. Poihipi Power Station was built from one. There are also those like the uncompleted Finnish nuke that made a leap into unproven technology. Closer to home, there was the kauri gum extraction from peat swamps in Northland.
    Energy storage comparable to gas peakers – not according to EPRI who I think know more than you. Though they are cheaper than pumped storage which should tell you about the relative costs. I also note that lead acid is still seen as viable for battery.
    I also noted this on one of the reports talking about the options:
    “Of all the emerging storage technologies we examined, seven failed to give even a 10% internal rate of return (IRR) in any scenario, challenging tech developers to slash capital costs or throw in the towel,” said Minnihan. Competitive, Yeah-Right.

  39. Nobody signs a contract for a 140MWh storage system based just on a paper study or a benchtop model.

    There are plenty of storage systems in the field up and running, and bigger systems are being installed, with the blessings of the regulatory authorities where applicable. So it is not just the utilities who are convinced they work.

    The costs of energy storage systems are getting down to the point where they can compete with gas peaker plants, and that is without a CO2 charge being applied to those gas peaker plants. However they are currently only competitive if they can provide multiple services like black start capability, frequency regulation, and inertia as well as energy storage. In this respect, they can complement our intermittent renewables.

    Also please note that I merely claimed that energy storage systems can help meet our winter peak power needs – I didn’t claim that they were a complete solution or the only solution, or even the best solution.


  40. We do not need the system to be “cheaper” than the subsidized (by future generations) price of power from coal. We need it to be cheaper than the actual cost of burning the coal and that is a much different and far more achievable number. Indeed, in many forms of renewable THAT is already achieved.

    It is only for those power supplies that must be continuous and reliable that renewables do not fit easily, and arranging a battery backup for THOSE would undoubtedly be far easier than the ubiquitous plug it in and it works assumption that we have had for the past half-century or so.

  41. That NZE study is probably in the Energy Library or buried in archives at Seaview. What I remember was it was a bound booklet about 3cm thick. The appendices with all the details were significantly bigger. The box containing them were one of the system engineer’s doorstop. It may come as a shock to you but most power system information is in hard copy documents with the links in the heads of greybeards. That is why they are still the mainstay of the engineering management.
    With regards new technology, if you want bleeding edge, go for it with your own money. Just don’t expect a new system to work and you will hemorrhage money trying to get it going. Almost everything you have proposed is only a paper study or a benchtop model. Even your link (which you apparently didn’t even bother to read) proved it. A contract to install – not one that works.
    There are lots of engineers a lot brighter than you or me working on the issues. They also have real world data and current costings from the manufacturers. Even Google conceded defeat and gave up trying to have a renewable based system cheaper than coal. Why do you expect that a few bloggers can come up with a solution they haven’t thought of?

  42. This is good stuff but too late at night.

    I’ve tried to post a link to a good study on energy storage, but the blog just wont take it.,

    In terms of 100MW VSDs, ABB claim to have them, and I’m sure Siemens can do them too. After all, a large VSD is very like a back-to-back HVDC converter, particularly of the “light” variety that use IGBTs rather than thyristors, so I have no doubt that single 100MW VSD could be built. Traditional HVDC converter plants need to operate into a stiff grid for the commutation to work, and when there is no grid at the remote end then conventionally rotary condensers have been used to provide the commutation cutoff, and these are mechanically started to 5Hz, and then the converter runs as a VSD to drag the spinner up to line rotational speed.

    Of course, it may be that rather than one very large pump one uses several smaller pumps, and then the VSD could be correspondingly smaller.

    And I’m fully with BJ; we’ll have to do all sorts of things to meet our commitments that we may not have considered preciously.

  43. Chris

    “And as regards surplus energy at nights – that is only when we have Huntly and CCGTs on …” until we add >500MW of wind farms.

    So the $10-20M per MW is down to $5M per MW at the best sites for dams and generators. How much for 1MW of pumps and pipes and no dam?

    You argument that storage systems would need extra transmission lines would depend on where they are built. Many storage systems are being considered because they would defer new transmission line construction. Also in areas of variable demand, storage can smooth out the power flow in the transmission lines reducing their losses.

    As for real-world operational experience of storage, the following may help:
    LG-Chem signed contracts for a 50MWh deal and a 140MWh deal.

    Remember that I am looking into the future, not the present day economics. We still need to build some of the wind farms that the power companies already have consents for. Also note that some of the energy storage options can be integrated with the wind turbines or solar PV plant to provide inertia, frequency regulation and fault ride through capability.

    All you seem to be looking for is problems. I haven’t noticed you making any constructive suggestions.


    PS: I don’t suppose you would have a link for the NZE study?

  44. Trevor. Your information on the Waitaki is wrong. And as regards surplus energy at nights – that is only when we have Huntly and CCGTs on and even then maybe 10-20 nights a year. For the rest of the time, they just back off the lake to lake hydros and use the down time to accumulate lake levels. Look at the real time generation data.

    With regards VSDs for motor generator sets at pumped stations, yes Alstom has contracts to build them for a couple of stations in Switzerland. The first one is for delivery in 2017, so they are very much unproven technology. I don’t know of anyone else who has built them – or more to the point has any operational experience. If you think we should be leading edge and will get something that works, you really are dreaming – ever heard of Otahuhu A’s problems? With regards batteries – you really have no idea. What is the cost of say 100MWh (which is small for a grid)? Where is the operational experience of a facility that size?

    From your earlier query about costs – In NZ dollars for a simple dam and generator set, it is about $5M/MW. And that is for the best sites. For the upper reservoir you need to do a lot of edge clearance to give you the working range. And as I said earlier, do the numbers. Show that your scheme is credible, or are you still trying to reverse Tekapo B?

    You spend too much time reading pamphlets and being a Google expert. How about getting real world experience? The first thing you learn is it doesn’t work like it says in the textbooks. Once you have that history, then you might be credible.

  45. Once again, we are up against reality. We have the what is possibly the best wind resource on the planet, but it will cost us money to use it. Much as we had the best hydro resource on the planet, and it cost us money to make it useful. However, the problem of political will will become more tractable as time and temperature milestones and old-white-guys pass. As one of those old-white-guys I have to protest that I have always protested, but I don’t own stuff, so I’m really just like everyone else here.

    There are a couple of answers:

    1. We are going to adopt local wind generation in places like Wellington. Lots of little turbines that look like this –

    …and don’t sound much like any of the ones we have.

    2. We are going to improve the grid so that we do get as much of that wind distributed as we can… and that cost is going to be high but –

    a. By distributing generation per the identified smaller local systems we reduce load on the grid.

    b. We have to upgrade the grid in any case to protect ourselves from future Carrington events. This is no plan by anyone that I see, that protects the equipment.

    c. The need for improvements beyond that is apt to be something that can be negotiated as the consequences of not doing so become more obvious.

    3. Storage is going to be addressed by finding something less expensive and difficult to site than stored hydro. One of the notions I once saw was simple railcars, full of rocks, on hills. Not advocating that, just saying that there will be a simple or at least cheap, method to do this in time.

    4. We are going to get used to less than perfectly reliable, 100% there all the time power in non-critical or non-time-critical applications, and reducing the need for storage as a result.

    Overall the adaptation and changes we have to make will be made, political will at the moment notwithstanding.

  46. Do I think it is possible to use a 90MW VSD to drive a pumped generator – yes. Is this what I was suggesting – no. There are a number of stations along the Waitaki and Benmore uses the biggest generators. The other stations are more likely to be able to take reversible generators. However VSDs couple to separate smaller pumps could be used at Benmore.

    The two lakes below Benmore can hold enough water to keep the Waitaki river flowing for most of a day. The times we have surplus generation tend to be nights, so storing that energy for a few hours and releasing it during the next day can allow other generation to remain idle for longer or to operate at lower levels, thus preserving their water for periods of low wind. But the lakes above Benmore can hold a lot more water, giving the ability to store surplus generation for days or even weeks rather than hours.

    And yes, I am aware that the North Island grid has its bottlenecks, which is why other forms of storage in the upper North island would be useful, such as a zinc-iron flow battery.


  47. Trevor
    Do the maths!! How much storage can you get in Benmore? And how do you keep Waitaki flowing while you are pumping the water back up. Do you really think you can have 90MW VSDs as pump generators? And what use is Benmore when you need the power north of Whakamaru?
    Other than a few organization putting in puff piece projects, what grid sized storage has been put in recently? And what did it cost?
    With regards pumped storage costs, read the trade papers. There have been several schemes proposed for the US that floundered because they were too expensive.

  48. I don’t have access to any costs, but I would be very surprised if it would cost $10-20M to add 1MW of pump capacity to Benmore or a number of other Waitaki River hydro stations (excluding Waitaki itself of course). The dams are there, the transmission lines are there, even the transformers are there. Additional pipes would be needed unless a turbine/generator combination can be replaced by a reversible turbine/motor-generator, but I believe it could be done.

    Pumps, with variable frequency drives should be able to help with grid stability when there is a lot of intermittent renewables operating and little other generation, as their demand can be changed immediately once they are running. Their inertia also helps for short term disruptions.

    As regards other storage being totally uneconomical, there are plenty of electricity utilities all over the world adding various forms of storage to meet their needs, whether for short term frequency regulation or time shifting supply or demand. Many of these systems are competing head to head with gas peaker plants for meeting peak demand power needs, which is not dissimiliar to our North Island winter peak situation. Why would our economics be so different?


  49. db
    As you have worked out, the storage in a large lake like Rotoaira is very small. It is actually significantly less than you worked out because of the constant inflows but for the purposes of this, they can be disregarded. It might help on the evening peak (during the rugby world cup generation jumped about 350MW at half time) but Maraetai does that job already and is on a better grid node. The problem isn’t peaking power, even under dry weather conditions but total energy in the winter months. To eliminate thermal, you need about 1000MW baseload for periods of up to 3 months.
    To be realistic as an energy smoothing and allow for the long periods with little or no wind generation, the pumped storage needs to be around 10GWh (about Dinorwig size). That would give one Huntly unit for 36 hours. That time would also allow a CCGT to be fired up from cold. To get this, Rotoaira would need a working range of 10m. That would never get consent, let alone the engineering difficulties. Yet to have smaller lakes would need even more head or greater working range. The sites for these just aren’t available because of the geological and engineering issues, disregarding environment and consent concerns. There was an old NZE study that looked at potential sites for when the South Waikato thermals were to be built, and they found nowhere suitable, even under those less restrictive times. If you can’t find a site, then all other discussion is away with the fairies stuff.

  50. Right Chris, lets play some numbers. Best as I can tell, Lake Rotoaira feeds the Tokaanu Power Station, rated at 240WM. Lets assume we use this station to help the evening peak, and it runs for three hours, so it generates 960MWh. Using your numbers, to return that water will require (960WMh @ 75% one way, 80% the other ) about 1600MWh, over a period of about 20 hours, or an average about 80MW/hour.

    The pumping is only feasible if you have a lot of must run steamers or nukes where they can’t easily change their slow ramp rates. Using it to soak up excess generation from undispatchable wind farms and/ or solar cells would be a nightmare.

    Your first bit of that is spot on, and is a very conventional use of pumped storage. However, my suggested use in also a very typical use, in line with frequency keeping. Let the undispatchable wind and solar loose, and use the hydro pumping as frequency keeping to keep the north island grid on speed. Because absorbing otherwise unwanted power can be sold on the market for free, there will always be a market for this absorption. The winders and solars win as their power has a market.

  51. db
    With regard to pumped storage – do the maths!. On a thread on the old blog platform, I put the numbers up. However. One unit at Huntly does about 6GWh/ day. Work out how much water that needs. Take Rotoaira which is 200m head and 9sq km – that is your best option in the North Island. Filling is around 70% efficient and generating 85% The consented working range is about 600mm from memory.

    The cost of pumped storage is also very costly around $10-20M per MW is the ballpark figure. However, if there is an existing lake that people won’t complain about its level going up and down metres per day, then the costs drop. The pumping is only feasible if you have a lot of must run steamers or nukes where they can’t easily change their slow ramp rates. Using it to soak up excess generation from undispatchable wind farms and/ or solar cells would be a nightmare.

    The other big elephant in the room for windfarms and pumped storage is the need for new transmission lines. They would be billion dollar projects. Getting consent for them is a very slow process, even for just uprating existing lines. And invariably they will have to cross Maori land which is a big problem in itself. Wasn’t there a proposal from one of the Green MPs to stop any Maori land being taken under the Public Works Act? If it isn’t Maori, it is almost certain to be part of the Conservation estate. There have been more than a few projects dropped because they can’t get grid access.

    As with all the other suggestions of Trevor, they are just pie in the sky dreams. None have been shown to work reliably on a grid sized project. Even if they did, they can only be justified if the power price becomes prohibitively expensive and fuel poverty becomes a real issue. Is their really a political will for the voting population to accept even double the power price?

  52. Trevor is right, energy storage can be an important part of our electrical energy future, and pumped storage hydro is the leading contender. Preferably in the North Island, and preferably not too far from some good wind farms. However, there is no electrical or commercial reason for the generators to invest in new generation. They are waiting for the Government to move, and instruct them to do it for climate change reasons, and they will then get some business benefit out of it. Most probably that will be the relaxation of the RMA, which has caused so many difficulties in building renewable energy schemes in the past.

    And then there is the reality of building “something”. I suspect (though don’t actually know) that one cant just make a conventional hydro power station “run backwards”, I suspect that the hydraulic arrangements are enough to render that infeasible.

    Thus one would presumably have to build an all new pumpstatiuon and new hydraulic works to get water “back up” to a higher reservoir. This is big hydro works.

    The Green party haven’t exactly been supportive when it comes to relaxation of the RMA. The Green Party have also had their mettle tested when it comes to hydro power station works, and have been found wanting. They railed against Project Aqua, and when it was finally killed off, they issues press release, [Greens delighted at the fall of Aqua].

    I had a slightly different position; I opined that [Aqua isn’t canceled, it’s merely hanging around for the correct political climate].

    Well, people, and, especially, the Green Party – hello – are you listening – that political climate is now. For New Zealand, hydro always was and remains the answer. When the time comes to support the building of pumped hydro and re-birthing Project Aqua (and some other schemes), the right thing to do is to support these schemes, for the sake of the planet.

  53. Not broken that I noticed, but if I don’t miss my guess they’re going to retire this thread on timing fairly soon. Not friendly this pack of regimented threads.

  54. The Greens like to quote the Guardian, and guess that is all your voters are ready for. But thinking back to George Monbiot’s keynote speech at the Sheffield Universitie’s Annual Political Economics Conference. How did he describe his own employer? Well he censored himself with a smile, but “Editorially timid” is the expression I think both he and I would agree on. serve it well, but are also limited to saying what the people are ready to hear.

    Nice of RT to make mention of NZs diversity with marriage and religion.

  55. A dry year doesn’t mean we lose hydro stations. It just means that water flows are lower than normal. Providing we don’t run the lakes dry, the hydro stations can continue to perform their normal operations including contributing to system stability. We just can’t rely on them for as much base-load energy. Extra wind farms can provide that energy, not all of the time but enough of the time for the hydro stations to be able to provide the rest. We can even add pumps to some of our hydro stations to boost the upper lakes when the wind is blowing but demand for power is low.

    Separate to the dry year problem is the problem of meeting the North Island’s peak winter demand while minimising our fossil fuel consumption. As noted in previous posts, solar PV is no help at all and wind turbines will not always be generating at peak demand times. This is where energy storage systems can help, whether they be pumped hydro, flow batteries, conventional batteries, flywheels or supercaps. The relative advantages, disadvantages and costs of these alternative technologies may well lead to some combination being the most economical solution.


  56. The article on Peer Review is flawed 🙂

    The only purpose of Peer Review is to provide a filter to remove obvious rubbish from the stream of information that scientists refer to in any given field. That’s what it does. The flaw in the article is to fail to differentiate between the way Scientists use “peer review” and the way other people think of it. Peer review has always meant this (to science)… “A few scientists have looked at this paper and didn’t find anything wrong with it, but that doesn’t mean you should take it as gospel” and once the paper is published it gets looked at far more thoroughly. Failing peer review is a sign of egregious error. Passing it has never meant “this is the revealed truth”.

    True that people are setting a low bar, but even that low bar has barred a lot of bad climate science.

    The Oligopoly issue is interesting but not really relevant to quality, as there are vastly more good papers out there than there is space in the “accepted” journals to publish. Which is sort of why PLOS exists after all.


  57. I agree that growing crops for bio-fuels can do more harm than good. What I was thinking about was harnessing some of our bio-waste mass, such as shelter belt clippings, crop stalks, those d@^^ leaves from flax bushes and cabbage trees, and wilding pines. If we can turn some of that carbohydrate into alcohols, methane or other fuels, then we can cut down on our net CO2 emissions. At present, much of this mass is either burnt or left to rot, either way releasing its carbon into the air in the form of CO2 or methane.


  58. The bigger challenge is working out who is going to pay to provide the capacity to meet our dry year needs.

    There is no challenge there at all, Trevor – we the consumers will pay.

    There is a simple solution to the dry year problem – build even more renewable generation.

    Yeah, but there are very real limits to this, and those limits are economic, for the reason we’ve agreed on above. As the “extra” generation appears on our bills, we don’t want to just keep building generation on a “just in case” basis; we want to invest reasonably wisely. The bigger problem is this:

    Hydro, gas = dispatchable, reliable, controlable variable output
    Nuke, coal, geothermal = dispatchable, reliable, fixed output
    Solar PV, wind = a bit dispatchable, unreliable, intermittent, self-varying output

    When we lose some of the hydro through dry years, we ideally want to replace it with a source of equal or better quality, and the other renewables are just not as good as hydro. We can have a constrained amount of gas turbine generation, which we can use only when required, and we have a goodly bunch of it already, and more can be built relatively cost effectively. We would need far more wind in far more places to make up for the constrained hydro, and even so, it would decrease the frequency stability and reliability of the grid.

    We’re can’t aim for perfection in the next few decades just because; we must aim to do as much as reasonably possible on the generation side. We’ve sunk to being a poor country but keeping our first world ambitions; there are very real limits as to what we can afford.

  59. There are two more links relating directly to weather control programmes. Along with the source – a World Bank Lawyer who is working on the repair of our global financial system.

    Chemtrails = Indigo Skyfold

    I now understand that Labours Foreign Minister has already raised this issue in NZ Parliament at question time, so it’s no secret. Was that Phil Goff who laughed it off.

  60. A bit more co-firing sounds good. Can our effluent slug not be dried and burned cheaper than current disposal methods? Good excuse to upgrade emissions filtration while we’re at it.

    However, bio-mass on the bigger scale is lookin like an international biodiversity killer. Sure, positive stuff in the third generation bio-mass options, but that’s not what politicians like the Nats are going to talk about, they want higher land prices, for you-know-what-reason.

    Eg. Who’s killing the orangutans? Can we have an agreement here; that the farmers are innocent. Palm oil plantations are for bio-fuel! PKE byproduct to the cows, sure. But bio-fuel and the renewable market is CLEARLY the driver here.

    Is it not the global Green policy on climate that’s pushing our ecosystems beyond repair! Or? If I’ve got this wrong, please explain.

    In Germany they call it maiz-icide. The intensity of the farming is driven by bio-gas (yes, in competition with over-intensified dairy, I’m not totally one-eyed) and there is just no room left for bio-diversity – they are starting to put in token little farm parks, how cute, pff pffff. Then the bio-gas maize-slug from the reactors is brought back onto the land and the NPK goes into the ground water. Hmmm, we’ve got a Green Party Environmental Minister here in the NRW, and tell ya what. “It’s not just the organic farmers who don’t like him!”.

    Can we please look at getting our Green-values in order of priority. Which is more important to us: Biodiversity (on the brink of collapse!) or talking about the weather (controlled by HAARP, chem-trails and god-knows-what-else?)

    Try watching 15 seconds of this 15min video: con-trails/chem-trails comparison – guarantee you watch it to the end.

  61. While the use of biomass rather than coal or gas for process heat would get our fossil CO2 emissions down, switching them to electricity and enhancing our renewable electricity generation might be a better path. Biomass has a lot of potential for use in transport and portable fuels, including natural gas (methane), alcohols (for chainsaws, motor bikes, some boats and planes, etc) and diesel and jet fuel alternatives. Long term, we might not want to simply burn our biomass. However in the short term, co-firing biomass with coal would be a quick start.

    There is a simple solution to the dry year problem – build even more renewable generation. This changes the problem from how to find more energy in dry years to what we can do with excess electricity generation in wet years – a much easier problem to solve. However economics point to this only being a part of the solution. Other parts could include building more hydro storage and paying some consumers not to use electricity in dry years. The bigger challenge is working out who is going to pay to provide the capacity to meet our dry year needs.


  62. John Allen has, in the first comment in the thread, somewhat nailed it.

    The current government, indeed any government , are unlikely to have climate change at the top of their todo list, as although climate change is probably the most pressing issue facing mankind, for most governments it isn’t the most pressing thing they need to deal with, there are other more urgent issues.

    This would be true even if the Green Party were in charge; this blog probably reflects what is on Green Party MPs fairly well, and just look back at the percentage that are about climate change, and rememebr that because of Paris this has recently been a popular topic.

    I think John’s stated “three very doable areas of national action” align pretty well what I think too, but the question is one of how this can be brought to bear. The current crop of political parties are not the answer, nor are any of the “greenie” action groups.

    The issue is compounded by a goodly chunk of our electricity industry being commercial operators. And it is further complicated by a big chunk of our electricity being hydo, and dry year problems significantly impact of hydro’s ability to deliver the goods. So I think the goal of 100% renewable electricity generation is achievable, most years; some years we’ll need to fall back onto gas, but the question is then one of how far we need to fall back. Climate change itself may make the position better (more and more reliable rain) or worse (more dry years)

    The second part of John’s approach – stationary heat for industrial works – I’ve not though much about, but yes, a lot of coal is burned for industrial and commercial heating processes, and this is an area fit for tacklement. But this area might be easier, industrial processes improve over time, and thus there are opportunities that arise to do the right thing.

    So given we cant rely on governments, political parties, or greenie organizations, what avenues are left open? Would this be the opportunity for a citizens referendum to help government make the right choices? This does require people power, and somehow the people need to provide a credible, focused, clear and specific voice for what we want to happen.

    Which, of course, leads to the question of what we the people want to happen. The goal cannot be too extreme, nor too expensive, as that simply will not be supported. It cannot incorporate any ideological elements, as them some part of other of the populace will object.

    An interesting challenge.

  63. Greens remain somewhat hamstrung by the failure of Labour and the unwillingness of corporate run media to confront and expose unpalatable truths.

    The first such unpalatable truth is that neo-liberalism is failing New Zealanders comprehensively.

    There are many, but the press remains silent about it and New Zealanders who struggle to earn a crust, and who are among the hardest working people I’ve EVER encountered, don’t understand the rules under which they’ve been disadvantaged.

    So we get National elected to a 3rd term.

    Groser and now Bennett, are politicians and number jugglers. It is true…. nobody in National has anything useful to say about climate. We can only set up a plan to get OUR CO2 down to an equivalent 1.5 target for the whole planet, (have to explain what that is so the morons who consistently say we can’t do it alone are pre-empted), put that plan through a “dragons-den” approach in caucus… find the things that will be attacked and publicize the plan with everyone on the same page.

    No embarrassing gaffs from now to the election.

    I again urge that the plan include the more general statement of acceptance that some countries need to use nukes to get through the next few hundred years, even while New Zealand is fortunate not to need them. The plan should also point out, AGAIN, the futility of searching for more fuel that the world can’t afford to burn. The plan should show a price of CO2 that contrasts and makes ridiculous the government’s supported prices.

    We have to discuss with Labour how to coordinate better in the next election, as having Key running against the Greens, unanswered in debate after debate, cannot be tolerated. The NZ people don’t’ want to understand that they’ve been fools though, nobody likes to be told that sort of thing and they are doubling down on dumb in their efforts to avoid that admission.

    How to fix THAT …. I haven’t got an answer. Can we get the Guardian to publish here in NZ?

  64. Dear James,

    Well written thanks, must fully agree what a disaster the National Party and political system is. Liked the humour of the starting race stretcher.

    Scholars say it’s time for climate-activists and austerity-activists to join the same race. A agree, it’s time we united against the political-elite. However the challenge of getting us on the same track, is this: I look at your photo of the Paris skies and ask, “Are those clouds con-trails or chem-trails?”

    This link here is just one example of which I will post more of in the near future.

    I don’t know which side is true, but either way you look at it, the driver behind world’s problems is certainly the neo-liberal capitalist cabal. I also note how hard it is to find a balanced debate via Google, the climate-change-skeptic views I have read come via whistle-blowers on twitter and FB. If the UN’s climate change scenario is so solid, then why is Google et. al. filtering to support one side of the debate? There seems to be bias here, acting against freedom-of-speech. Regardless of who’s right here, I admire your efforts to promote Green values, but do wish us to consider our direction. The political system is not serving our current efforts.

    A wider alliance focused on the capitalist-core would, in my opinion, serve Green values more directly. All genuine political factions would benefit from focusing on the shadow-government that controls the people with cartels in media and banking.

    Thanks for your legislative marathon efforts in Paris. Hope you find time for the post-race warm-down with friends, family and nature, this coming holiday season.

    Best regards,
    Dale Simpson

  65. So with the government stepping out of their leadership role around climate action, who will step up?
    Apart from the myriad of individual actions we can separately take, there are three very doable areas of national action that will require leadership.
    First is to develop a plan to exceed the renewable electricity generation target in terms of both penetration (100% is achievable) and timing (2030 is longer than it ought be).
    Second, also part of an energy transition, is to set about replacing fossil fuelled process heat generation with renewable biomass. Actions on transport fuels will follow.
    The third area is the best thing that came out of Paris – the 4per1000 initiative. So very very doable and with so many added benefits.
    Who will step up?

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