The cost of renewable energy

February 12, 2013

Greenpeace doesn’t think its important to address the costs in its report on on renewable energy.

In answer to a question from Nikki Kaye on advice he’d received on the proposition of a 40 percent reduction in emissions by 2020 and whether a 100 percent renewable electricity supply would be achievable then-Minister for Climate Change Issues, Nick Smith, said:

. . . I am advised that that would require, first, the writing-off of $4.5 billion of thermal generation assets. It would also require $11 billion for the replacement capacity of 2,500 megawatts, and $2 billion for additional renewable peaking stations needed to ensure security of supply in a dry year. This amounts to a total capital cost of $17.5 billion, excluding the additional transmission investment that would be required, and this would amount to a 30 percent increase in the power price for all consumers. Going 100 percent renewable would also require the equivalent of another seven Clyde Dams to be built by 2020. I do not describe $17.5 billion, a 30 percent power price increase, and seven Clyde Dams as being easy.

New Zealand is blessed with plentiful supplies of water and already have a high proportion of hydro electricity.

But many of the people who want more renewable energy are also opposed to more hydro generation and it would be difficult to find anyone who thought a 30% increase in power charges for everyone was acceptable.


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