Energy use unsustainable with renewables

29/09/2018

Current trends of energy use won’t be sustainable when New Zealand relies only on renewable energy:

. . . Energy Research Centre co-director Michael Jack said the infrastructure and market structures needed to change.

“Wind is variable. It’s only generating when the wind blows.

“Solar is generating during the middle of the day, when there’s less demand for it.

Hydro generation is more reliable, except when droughts decrease river flows, but the chances of getting new hydro schemes through the consent process are remote.

“What you need to do is either shift your demand to those time when the renewables are being produced or somehow store those renewables for use at later times,” he said. . . 

Improved technology could provide better storage, but is unlikely to come up with something affordable in the near future.

He said if changes were not made, the switch to completely renewable energy would be costly.

Of course it will be costly and that will hit poorer people hardest.

This is another reminder of how ill-advised the government was to rush into the ban on oil and gas exploration.

Apropos of which, this week we learned that not only did the government rush into the ban, it’s also going to be rushing the select committee process:

PEPANZ says it is undemocratic and deeply unfair for the select committee considering changes to oil and gas legislation to have its consultation period slashed to just four weeks.

“Given the strong public interest and enormous ramifications of this decision, it’s crucial this process isn’t rushed,” says PEPANZ CEO Cameron Madgwick.

“Our industry doesn’t want a Block Offer this year if it means an undemocratic process. This means there should be no reason now for urgency.

“There has already been a shocking lack of consultation since the surprise announcement was made in April. To now slash the consultation time doesn’t seem fair, open or transparent to the communities, workers, and iwi directly affected.

“Given some of the outrageous comments from relevant MPs in the debate tonight, we have little confidence in a fair hearing from the Environment Select Committee. This is especially so in such a short timeframe which gives so little time for MPs to consider evidence and write a properly informed report.

“The legislative changes in the bill involves serious economic and environmental issues and go even further than expected. There needs to be proper scrutiny of the impacts through a normal four to six month select committee process.

“The entire process has been a disgrace with no warning, no consultation and the Government trashing their own expert advice on the devastating impacts of this policy.”

Why the rush?

Because the decision is made and the government has no wish to hear the facts submitters will put up to prove the economic, environmental and social damage the ban will do.

 

 

 


Rural round-up

31/07/2017

MPI urges vigilance – Annette Scott:

While he may be the first in New Zealand to have the cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis detected on his farm, South Canterbury dairy farmer Aad van Leeuwen is confident he won’t be the last.

The Ministry for Primary Industries notified the detection of Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) disease on a South Canterbury dairy farm on July 25, but the identity of the property wasn’t revealed until four days later, on Friday, prompting speculation to run rife meantime.

Devastated that the disease – listed as an unwanted organism under NZ’s Biosecurity Act 1993 – had hit his dairy operation, van Leeuwen said he was co-operating 100% with MPI. . .

Japan frozen beef tariffs expected – Alan Williams:

New Zealand beef exporters are facing 50% tariffs on frozen exports to Japan over the next eight months.

Suppliers in this country have been caught in the reaction to big shipments from Australia, and especially the United States this year, so that total volumes have reached a trigger point at which the Japanese government has decided it needs to protect domestic farmers. . .

Give up farming generate power – Neil Malthus:

Farmers installing solar power can now get a better return from it than from farming itself, a solar power installer claims.

Electrical contractor Andrew Wells, of ABW Electric, Christchurch, recently set up Sunergy Solar to market solar photovoltaic systems. His company specialises in farm installations, marketed at farming field days and A&P shows; it also does residential systems.

Wells sees huge potential for solar power on farms: electricity charges for a dairy shed average $5000 – $6000 a month and solar panels now cost only about 8% of what they did 10 years ago. . . 

More wool needed for a brighter future – WNZ – Pam Tipa:

Greater sales volume is critical for Wools of NZ, says chair Mark Shadbolt.
The trademarked scouring process Glacier XT will be a more volume-focused business, he says.

“That will create lot more demand. It is creating a wool that is a lot whiter and brighter and is the sort innovation and technology we need to invest in to add value to the wool.

“We have had a lot of interest in the market for it because the brightness is the key aspect that the industry hadn’t been able to acquire until this technology became available.” . .

Southland a winner – Sonita Chandar:

Southlander Katrina Thomas knew “absolutely nothing about cows” when she and husband James Dixon converted to dairy farming.

But she turned that lack of knowledge around by joining the Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) and volunteering her time to the community.

It is this generosity that saw her win the 2017 Dairy Women’s Network Dairy Community Leadership award. . .

NZ’s prosperity still tethered to farm gate – Liam Dann:

There’s nothing like a biosecurity scare to remind us that New Zealand’s economic prosperity is still – for better or for worse – tethered to the farm gate.

The instant that news of the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak in South Canterbury hit the headlines last Tuesday the dollar plunged.

Luckily it only dropped 20 basis points (0.2 per cent) before it became apparent that this was a more benign disease than foot and mouth.

But it was enough to put a deep V shape in the daily dollar chart and illustrate how quickly a more serious outbreak could take this country to the brink of recession. . .

Fonterra Australia increase farmgate milk price for the 2017/18 season:

Fonterra Australia has today advised its farmers of an increase of 20 cents per kilogram of milk solids (kgMS) to its farmgate milk price for the 2017/18 season, bringing its average farmgate milk price to $5.50kgMS. The increase will apply from 1 July 2017 and will be paid on 15 August 2017.

Fonterra’s additional payment of 40 cents/kgMS is payable on top of the revised farmgate milk price, and brings the total average cash paid to $5.90kgMS.

Fonterra Australia Managing Director René Dedoncker said that improved market conditions and the strength ohf the Australian business supported this step up. . . .


How green is your policy?

17/02/2014

If you want to be green you should recycle, right?

Not necessarily.

Recycling does reduce the amount of waste going to landfills. But that is only one measure of environmental impact.

If recycling uses more energy and/or causes more pollution dumping could be the greener option.

Alternative forms of energy might look greener but as Andrei and Gravedodger pointed out yesterday appearances can be not just deceptive but dirty.

They were commenting on the Green Party policy to provide cheap loans for the installation of solar panels.

When we altered our house 12 years ago we looked into installing solar panels but were advised it would cost too much for too little power.

We investigated solar panels again before undertaking further  alterations a couple of years ago and were told the technology still wasn’t good enough to be worth it this far south.

There might be a better ratio between the cost and benefits further north but that still doesn’t counter the criticism about the environmental cost of making and disposing of solar panels and batteries.

Then there’s the Green’s mistaken assertion that there are no government subsidies involved.

The Green Party’s belief in their ability to make money magically appear seems to have no limits says Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges.

“The Greens’ solar power policy creates low interest loans that make expensive solar power suddenly a cheaper option for kiwi families, with ‘apparently’ no government subsidy involved.

“I have news for the Greens — if it’s a lower interest rate than normal, it must involve a government subsidy. And if it makes the cost of solar power cheaper for families than existing power options it also must involve a subsidy.

“Everyone wants something cheaper but someone has to pay. Solar is about three times more expensive than grid-scale generation from wind, hydro or geothermal power stations. If solar power was to be made more affordable other taxpayers and power users would have to pay for it.

“There is certainly a place for solar in New Zealand, but given the abundance of lower cost renewable alternatives, it can’t be a priority to subsidise solar power or change the rules to suit a specific technology.

“We’ve seen that with expensive solar subsidies in other parts of the world, including Germany and Spain. The irony is that New Zealand already generates 75 per cent of our electricity from renewable sources and the percentage is moving higher without any need for government subsidies.

“No matter how you dress it up the Greens’ grab bag of power ideas, which also includes nationalising power purchasing and a more expensive ETS, will heap higher prices on Kiwi households.

“If the Greens are serious about their policies, they need to front up and explain who pays for all of this, or whether they would roll out Russell Norman’s printing press again.”

David Cunliffe made a mess of his party’s big baby bribe announcement by saying one thing and meaning another.

Norman’s assertion that there are no government subsidies involved is not just misleading, it’s wrong.

If the environmental impact of the materials, manufacture and disposal of everything involved in solar energy is taken into account the claim that this policy is clean and green is also wrong.

 

 

 

 


Rural round-up

28/12/2013

Huge solar power system to milk cows – Gerald Piddock:

Hugh and Sue Chisholm are turning to solar power to help run a more sustainable dairy business.

The Putaruru farmers are installing one of the country’s largest solar powered systems ever to be used on a dairy farm on their dairy shed near Putaruru.

The 28kW photovoltaic (PV) system has 112 solar panels on the roof of the Chisholm’s 64-bale rotary shed as well as two Fronius IG 150 V3 inverters.

Chisholm said the capital cost of the system was a smart investment, and part of an improvement plan for their farm. . .

Sharemilkers not bad people, just bad bosses – Jon Morgan:

Immigration adviser Lyn Sparks is blaming a rise in corporate-owned dairy farms for an increase in workers’ complaints about poor working conditions.

The Christchurch-based adviser says the biggest offenders are some corporate-owned farms run by sharemilkers.

However, he believes there are more good employers than bad in dairying.

“The bad ones are not bad people,” he says. “They just don’t know how to manage.”

But a contract milker says there are just as many bad employees in dairying as bad employers. . .

Sorry tale of swaps no one understood – Fiona Rotherham:

It has been a victory – of sorts – for farmers with the Commerce Commission last week saying it intended filing court action next March against the ANZ, ASB and Westpac banks for “misrepresenting” the sale of interest rate swap loans to rural customers.

I say a victory of sorts because there’s a lot of water under the bridge yet to get compensation for farmers, some of whom ended up more heavily indebted and losing their land.

Sold between 2005 and 2008, interest rate swaps were marketed to farmers as a way to beat rising interest rates. When the global financial crisis hit in 2008 farmers with swaps saw the interest they were paying rise when rates were falling rapidly elsewhere. The banks charged huge break fees for those wanting to exit the swaps. . . .

Bank claims farmer swaps compo call ‘too late’ – Rob Stock:

ANZ says the three-year limitation period has passed under the Fair Trading Act for the Commerce Commission to obtain compensation for farmers who were mis-sold interest rate swaps.

That, the bank warned, meant the commission “will now have to attempt a novel and uncharted method to obtain compensation if it takes the court route.”

The bank’s written statement comes in the wake of the news last week that the commission would launch legal action next March under the Act against ANZ, Westpac and ASB for the sale of the swaps between 2005 and 2008. It is also investigating another bank, not yet named, that also sold swaps and may be joined to the action. . .

Postie’s long run of deliveries nears an end – Lauren Hayes:

After 53 years, millions of kilometres, thousands of early mornings and an unthinkable amount of petrol, a Winton postie is calling it a day.

At 21, Ray Cosgrove used his savings to buy into a Central Southland rural delivery run, and began loading letters into a Hansa station wagon. The Hansa might be long gone and the delivery route altered but, more than half a century later, Mr Cosgrove and his wife, Debbie, are still delivering mail to rural Southlanders.

Mr Cosgrove bought the rural run in September 1960 and stepping into the role was not as easy as many people, including the urban posties, often thought, he said. . .

Year in review – March – Rebecca Harper:

The drought was really hurting rural communities and the bill started to mount for the primary sector with drought declarations coming thick and fast. The entire North Island was eventually declared as being in drought along with the West Coast of the South Island. Dairy production took a hit and the first talk about a merger between the two largest meat co-operatives, Alliance and Silver Fern Farms, started, as farmers looked for the causes of low lamb prices.

This was quickly followed by a call from the newly-formed Meat Industry Excellence Group, a group of lower South Island farmers, for meat-sector consolidation. A meeting in Gore to gauge support and discuss possible reform of the red meat industry attracted 1000 farmers and Alliance chairman Owen Poole put the cost of consolidation at $600 million. . .


A tax the NZ left hasn’t thought of – yet

04/08/2013

The LabourGreen answer to almost any economic question is more tax.

However, there is one thing they haven’t thought of taxing – yet – and that’s sunlight.

But it might occur to them because it’s being done in Spain:

The state threatens fines as much as 30 million euros for those who illegally gather sunlight without paying a tax.

The tax is just enough to make sure that homeowners cannot gather and store solar energy cheaper than state-sponsored providers. . .

If you get caught collecting photons of sunlight for your own use, you can be fined as much as 30 million euros.

If you were thinking the best energy option was to buy some solar panels that were down 80% in price, you can forget about it.

“Of all the possible scenarios, this is the worst,” said José Donoso, president of the Spanish Photovoltaic Union (UNEF), which represents 85% of the sector’s activity.

Before the decree it took 12 years to recover the investment in a residential installation of 2.4 kilowatts of power. Following the decree, it will take an additional 23 years according to estimates by UNEF. . .

Huge solar generation panels lined paddocks near Vejer de la Frontera in south west Spain.

It seemed like a very good use of a natural resource when the sun shone all day, every day for the three months we lived there.

We were told there were EU incentives for generation from renewable sources.

It seems ludicrous to take an incentive with one hand and impose a tax disincentive with the other.

But let’s not tell LabourGreen, they might think it’s a good idea.


Rural round-up

13/04/2012

Irrigation problems call for new approaches – Gerald Piddock:

Getting to the future first could see New Zealand become a world leader in sustainable, irrigated agriculture, says a visiting Australian academic.

By achieving an innovative vision for agriculture, New Zealand could then trade this to the world market, Dr Peter Ellyard told delegates at the IrrigationNZ Conference in Timaru.

“I think what you need to do is create a vision for irrigated agriculture for the year 2050 and say `this is what we think we could look like’, and say `why not?”‘ . . .

Management of water resources the problem – Gerald Piddock:

The world does not face a water crisis, but a crisis of water management, an international expert on water says.

The solution to future problems around water management is integrated water resources management by managing the resource across all of its different uses, Danish professor Torkil Jonch Clausen told delegates at the IrrigationNZ conference in Timaru.

This is currently not being done, he said.

“I don’t think the world faces a water crisis, if we act intelligently. We have all the water we need but we do face a crisis in governance in a world of uncertainty.” . . .

Opuha dam held up as fine irrigation example – Gerald Piddock:

South Canterbury’s Opuha Dam should be sold to the public as what irrigation can achieve, the IrrigationNZ conference in Timaru was told. Showcasing such schemes would help improve overall public perceptions of irrigation.

Improving perceptions of irrigation among the wider public could be achieved through better branding and celebrating industry success stories, industry experts said. . .

NZ must make the most of its assets now if it’s to recover – Gerald Piddock:

Growing the levers that generate income is the “only palatable option” in getting New Zealand’s economy back on its feet, ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie says.

New Zealand needed to recognise what it has that is world class which include its water resources, potential minerals, tourism and global reputation, he said in an address at the IrrigationNZ Conference in Timaru.

“They are tremendously powerful areas of strategic advantage.” . . .

‘Wow Factor’ Farm Wins Supreme Title in Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards

Opio farmers Michael and Karen Blomfield, the owners of an “industry-leading” dairy farm, have won the Supreme award in the 2012 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Ballance Farm Environment Award (BFEA) judges were lavish in their praise of the couple’s 220ha former sheep and beef farm, describing it as an “impeccable and aesthetically pleasing farm with the wow factor”.

“This dairy business can be highlighted as demonstrating all the disciplines we would have expected of a medium scale operation that epitomises near optimum environmental, social and financial sustainability.” . . .

Doug’s drought solution leverages water – Jon Morgan:

Doug Avery admits he’s “a bit flash” on the environment and the need to build good soils.

That’s because the 2010 South Island Farmer of the Year has been through the pain of long drought years that hit his Marlborough farm in the 1980s and 90s.

The “decarbonising” of the Marlborough farmland by generations of farmers left him embarrassed to be a farmer, he told a Hawke’s Bay Future Farming Conference.

“But farmers are not the problem,” he said. “We are the solution. As landholders of this country we occupy most of the land that is not in bush or mountain pasture. We must be the guardians of this valuable and ongoing resource.” . . .

Wool must mean wool – Bruce Wills:

What would happen if a local wine company produced a nice bottle of sparkling wine, so nice, they put ‘Champagne’ on the label? In a matter of days they’d feel some hefty legal muscle because since the 1890’s, the French have protected ‘Champagne’ with passion. The French could so easily have given a Gallic shrug, uttered sacré bleu and seen Champagne become another generic name for sparkling wine. Having once tried a $2.99 bottle of American ‘Champagne,’ there’s a few choice words I could use to explain why the French should protect their $7 billion industry.

The Champagne houses couldn’t do this without the active backing of their government. If you want to deal with France or Europe for that matter, you have to respect what intellectual property means. While I’m passionate about wool, the industry around it has sometimes resembled an epic disaster movie. After the boom years of the 1950’s we got so caught up in minutia and infighting, we lost control of our most precious asset being the word ‘wool’ itself. . .

Orchards struggle to find workers – Peter Watson:

Some orchardists are scrambling for pickers as the apple harvest reaches its busiest period.

A late start to the season means the harvest has been compressed into a shorter period.

This has pushed up the demand for staff.

However, growers are finding it difficult to recruit and retain experienced pickers in particular, as foreign workers resume their travels and Kiwis often find the work too hard for the money they can earn. . .

 

Controversial wood strategy shows promise:

The Wood Council of New Zealand (Woodco) released its Strategic Action Plan for Forestry at the FORESTWOOD 2012 national conference for the forest and wood products sector in Wellington last month.

At the ForestWood Conference a new action plan emerged from within that strategy – one which strongly recommends a steep change and leap forward for the industry. Richard Phillips, of North Carolina State University, made a compelling presentation for a new “mega-mill” in the form of a one million tonne per annum integrated pulp mill built to also house integrated biomass and biofuel production cells. . .

Think solar when building a barn – Business Blog:

Anyone constructing a new agricultural building should consider maximising additional income from a roof-mounted solar installation, says Strutt & Parker.

The firm has just opened one of its first solar barn projects at EW Davies Farms in Thaxted, Essex (pictured below) and says that even with the lower Feed-in Tariffs a solar barn should pay for itself in around 20 years. . .


Sun farms

08/07/2009

Are sun farms the next big thing in power generation?

This one between Vejer de la Frontera and Cadiz covers about 10 hectares.

sunfarm2

sun farm

The Scientific American asks is the sun setting on solar power in Spain

It says that waning subsidies and other markets might entice developers to move elsewhere. 

Could it work in New Zealand and if so, would development on this scale attract the opposition wind power has through the resource consent process?


%d bloggers like this: