More people die from the cold than heat:
It is much easier to cool down in extreme heat that usually lasts only hours to days than to warm up in the killer cold that can last weeks or months.
This isn’t an argument to ignore climate change. It is an argument for being very careful about unexpected, possibly fatal, consequences of policies designed to lower emissions.
. . .General manager of operations Dr Stephen Jay told the Herald he couldn’t rule out any further disruption to the network, stating “the emergency is far from over”.
“Things are running tight. Supplies have been running to the wire this morning.”
Last night’s outages affected parts of Wellington, Kāpiti Coast, Taupō, Hamilton, Napier, Hastings, Auckland and Whangārei.
None were warned yesterday that they would be without power, on a night which saw many cities head towards, or below, zero degrees. . .
Households were inconvenienced, many people had to endure the cold and, oh the irony, people who couldn’t charge their EVs had to rely on petrol and diesel fuelled cars.
The black out also caused problems for businesses. Stock had to be turned away from freezing works and cows were left unmilked on some farms that do 16-hour milking.
National Party leader Judith Collins likened the outage to that which happened in a third world country.
“We do not live in a third world country.
“It was one of the coldest nights of the year last night and many families couldn’t keep warm.
“We should always expect that it will be colder in winter and we’ll need to use more energy, but the Government has failed New Zealanders by not being prepared.
“The Government has to be able to keep the lights on. This useless lot has failed to do that. ” . .
Power companies must accept some of the blame but government policies are also responsible:
. . .As Point of Order sees it, there will be a great deal of hand-wringing in the Beehive (and possibly some glee across in the Opposition wing). For this is a crisis all of the government’s own making.
Remember that the decision to ban further offshore oil exploration was Ardern’s “nuclear moment”. It drove away international oil explorers, just at the time a bunch of companies had been planning further work, including the exploitation of already discovered fields.
Since then, first the Labour-NZ First coalition set the target of becoming 100% renewable which spurred the big electricity generators to turn away from fossil fuels, earmarking more investment for wind farms, and subsequently demand for electricity has outpaced expectations.
Labour’s focus on renewables yielded the kind of political irony this week when 700 MW of wind turbine capacity lay idle because the air was so still (but the locals were freezing). . .
Neither solar nor wind generation is 100% reliable. The sun doesn’t shine every day, it never shines at night, and wind turbines need neither too much nor too little wind to operate.
The government blundered into policies to reduce the use of fossil fuels without a proper plan for the transition. As a result we’re burning dirtier imported coal than our own and having power cuts.
Hamish Rutherford explains:
. . .As has happened before, Woods blamed the issue on commercial decisions by private companies. That does not get us very far. Of course companies make commercial decisions.
Between the decision to rip up the rules on the gas market, to the difficulty consenting renewables projects, to the threat to build hydro storage at Lake Onslow, the market is simply responding to the signals that the Government is sending it.
The government might think climate change is an emergency that requires drastic action but it won’t get buy-in from people who expect a first-world power supply when its policies result in third-world service.
This is night time in North Korea, blacked out among its brighter, lighter neighbours.
We need security of supply so that we don’t have to endure the same cold, dark nights here.