Saturday, January 2, 2010

Can NACT when in power, give us power?


A worrying story from Stuff.

Because Stuff remove their links after a few weeks I have copied and pasted the full text below. The reason for this is so we can remind ourselves in 2012 what NACT have done from the first day of January 2010 to give us power during Winter, 2012.

Personally, I find it a struggle to see how we will catch Australia by 2025 without a confident and assured electricity supply. But hey, that's just me.

If I was PM, I'd be giving this #1 priority. The RMA would be ignored as would the greenies and the nimbys. Struth, there are enough unemployed out there now to build 10 power stations.

Take a leaf from China's book John - haul in the army and do it. Forget the consultation. This is too important. And in case you missed it, China had 8.5% GDP growth last year during a global recessionary cycle. That's partly because they actually do things, instead of talk about doing them.

Stuff article

With two major Waikato power station projects deferred during the recession and others around New Zealand on hold or cancelled, the Electricity Commission is warning of potential electricity shortages from 2013 onwards unless more new projects are committed to in the next 12 months.

A completely revised table of potential new power stations is presented in a draft Electricity Commission report – showing a decrease in new generation from the 1536 megawatts expected in 2008 to just 549MW, including Contact Energy's new 200MW gas-fired plant in Taranaki.

"Over 600MW of new generation that was rated as a medium or higher possibility for 2010 or 2011 in the 2008 assessment has since been deferred until at least 2013 or cancelled," the report says.

Among the biggest deferrals are Contact's new Te Mihi replacement plant for the Wairakei geothermal power station and its 540MW Hauauru Ma Raki wind development near Raglan.

"This assessment indicates that a substantial amount of new firm generation will be needed by 2013 in order to maintain winter capacity margins above the security threshold," says the commission, which will be replaced by an Electricity Authority when Energy Minister Gerry Brownlee's electricity reforms become law towards the end of this year.

A variety of factors is raising the risks to electricity system security for the winters of 2010, 2011 and 2012, although the commission does not believe the risk is enough to procure emergency reserve energy.

"There are ... serious concerns about peak capacity during winter 2012, with capacity margins projected to be below the security threshold" on a variety of scenarios analysed from normal to high risk.

The commission also raises the threats to risk margins that are posed by electricity generators declining to run slow-starting power stations to meet volatile peak demand.

In October state-owned Genesis Energy said the Huntly power station was not paying its way after writing off $261 million from its value because of the cost of running it on coal.

Huntly is the biggest power station in New Zealand, with four traditional 250MW coal-burning power units, built in 1981.

It has a lifespan of at least 20 more years but Genesis has said it will no longer run the power station unprofitably just to keep lights on, as it argues it was accustomed to doing in the past.

Genesis may decommission the plant in coming years unless it can gain profitable contracts such as one signed with Meridian last year.

"There is the potential for unit commitment problems to have a serious adverse effect on security of supply at peak times," the commission says.

6 comments:

Mort said...

ly not paying its way? Why is it that Australia can sell their consumers electricity at 1/3rd the amount that we pay? The answer is simple really, its because most of their generation is Coal based. The only reason for Huntly to be uneconomic is is some dickhead is addding a surcharge onto it's generation capacity.
The problem with NZ power generation is that under labour, generators were forced into a position where cheap sources of electricity had to subsidise uneconomic "green" methods. The facts speak for themselves, it cost 14c/kw for wind, and only ~2c for coal, less for hydro.
NZ is going in the wrong direction with electricity generation if it wants to improve our standards of living. I have read previously that teh is a direct correlation between improvement in productivity and availablitiy of cheap electricity. Since Labour screwed with the energy sector, and treated it as another revenue source the cost of electricity has tripled, and what new generation has come onstream? Sod all, so why the justification for the massive inflation seen in the sector, especially given that the taxpayers have already paid for the generators.
In essence I agree with you about the new generation, but wind is not the answer, they are ugly, unreliable, and just too damn expensive.
Dobson on the west coast needs to be built, along with about 3 others in the same area. The cook straight cable should be upgraded with new linkage through the Nelson region. Perhaps we coould even consider building a new coal generator on the westcoast too. The greenies will jump around, but they could be ignored if the govt promises cheaper power from the new generators.
An idea was mooted a couple of yeahrs ago for a large drill pipe to carry water from the west coast thrpough to the canterbury plains, and perhaps it could run through a series of generation turbines on the way through. earthquakes might be an issue, given that the only reason why the sthn alps exist is because they are represent the movement of tectonic plates, so might disrupt the integrity of any bored tunnels, but some bright spark engineer may have an answer to that.

FAIRFACTS MEDIA said...

Considering Gerry Brownlee did so well highlighting Liarbour's failings over power supply and the risk of the lights going ut, you would think NACT would deliver.
Or is it a case of saying one thin in oppoisition and another thing when in government.

Psycho Milt said...

The problem with NZ power generation is that under labour...

Yes, no doubt it's simply a partisan political issue. After all, National's efforts in the 1990s were so highly regarded by all that Labour simply had no mandate for the changes that it made... Seriously, give it a rest with the party political bullshit.

Or is it a case of saying one thin in oppoisition and another thing when in government.

Yes. Yes, it is. Brownlee was a useless sack of shit in the last National govt and will no doubt prove the same in this one.

As Gooner says: "[The Chinese] actually do things, instead of talk about doing them." Neither major party in NZ has an enviable record on electricity generation in the last couple of decades.

JC said...

Bearing in mind that its traditional for the power companies to frighten the bejabbers out of us before they increase the price...

JC

Anonymous said...

Hmmm.... could it be that the National-Labour free market in electricity generation & transimission has failed? For the 3rd time?

Given your Stuff article highlights that there is no shortage of power plants available (Huntly), or planned (Raglan wind, etc), could it be that the problem was ditching our state monopoly?

You know, a state monopoly that would run power (even if at a short-term loss) when power was needed, instead of the free market corporate solution to just shut power plants down and leave the public in the dark.

Frighteningly similar to the last 25 years of meat works shutdowns, which saw lamb numbers halved and the price more than doubled. Good for profits (ditto for the power companies), but not for reliable cheap supply (ditto power companies). Hmmm.

And yes, Brownlee is a buffoon. Another John Key do-nothing minister. Key must be clning them from Clark's secret factory ;(

Anonymous said...

And now the govt can track our emails and other communications (front page), honestly, how Big Brother is that? So much for smaller govt! Did Clark personally select Key?