The Government's mind-boggling announcement of its intent to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation directly contradicts its own official advisers and would increase residential power prices by 300%.
The government's Zero Carbon Bill will lead to an increase in global emissions, higher electricity prices and do serious damage to many of our efficient and productive industries. The poor will suffer most.
Ever since Meremere power station was commissioned in the 1950s, New Zealand has relied on coal-fired power stations supplemented by gas and oil to provide the 10% of annual energy needed in a 1:20 dry year to replace the shortfall in hydropower generation. To make up for the shortfall we need to have an energy store that can be converted into electricity over a four month dry period.
At the Electricity Engineers Association annual conference a few weeks ago many of the speakers seemed to have forgotten that, as technological advisers to the government, it is their duty to tell the government what it needs to know rather than what they think it wants to hear.
LGNZ have embarked on a “Climate Change Project" focused on adapting and mitigating "climate change" – properly described as man-made global warming. When faced with a potential risk, the rational approach is to make sure the risk is real, assess its magnitude, decide if anything needs to be done, and if so, what is the cheapest and most effective solution.
The New Zealand electricity market has given us ever increasing prices and there is an increasing risk that a dry hydro year could lead to extremely high prices and blackouts. Major changes to the industry are needed – and quickly.
Many articles in the Herald have emphasised the dangers of man-made global warming and warned us that extreme measures are needed to save us from this imminent climatic disaster. Almost without exception, the authors have assumed that man-made carbon dioxide causes dangerous global warming, rapid sea level rise and more floods, droughts, cyclones and so on.
Australia has just scrapped its carbon tax, so should we scrap our Emissions Trading Scheme? The answer is yes, and for many reasons. The Emissions Trading Scheme has distorted farming and forestry, increased electricity and fuel prices and done little or nothing towards reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Many people believe that electricity prices are too high. They find it difficult to understand why, when most of our electricity is generated by old hydropower stations, the price has escalated at well above the rate of inflation since about 2002 when the market first started to function as it was designed to do. They would be right.
The latest New Zealand Energy Strategy is a strange mixture of pragmatism, ignorance, unachievable aspirations and disregards our biggest energy resource. The policy on oil and gas is sensible and admirable. Anything that encourages exploration and development of these resources can only be applauded. But maintaining a strategy for 90% renewable energy–which, technically, is virtually unachievable–really demonstrates an ignorance of the fundamentals of so-called “climate change".