Energy

Hey Helen! How about you STFU and piss off?

Helen Clark wants the top UN job

In 2008 New Zealand had finally had enough of Helen Clark’s doctrinaire and stifling government. We gave them the arse card and as she cried her way home to the lonely Mt Albert house she came up with a plan to bolt to the UN.

John Key in his wisdom assisted that process…and it is widely known he did it so she wouldn’t be second guessing anything in the media.

But now, 7 years later she has piped up and told us we must do more on climate change…despite the fact we emit bugger all greenhouse gasses compared with India, China, Japan and the US. No we must do more.

Global commitments to greenhouse gas reductions ahead of a world summit in Paris are not enough to tackle climate change – and developed countries, including New Zealand, need “to do more”, United Nations Development Programme administrator Helen Clark says.

The former Prime Minister was in New Zealand this week giving a lecture on the challenges the world faces in 2015, including climate change.

In it she said the commitments made ahead of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris in November would not add up to what’s really needed to tackle the problem.

Speaking on TV3’s The Nation this morning, Ms Clark repeated that sentiment, saying those commitments “are not enough”.

“They’re not enough to stop that tip-over point of global warming going above 2C above the pre-industrial levels,” she said.   Read more »

Where did all that green energy go?

The UK is facing power blackouts this coming winter…and all because of their much vaunted green energy solutions…which don’t work.

Britain’s electricity supplies will be at their tightest level in a decade this winter, forcing the country to rely on emergency measures to ensure the lights stay on, according to official forecasts.

The closure of three power stations has increased the risk of blackouts since last winter, new analysis by National Grid shows.

The ‘safety buffer’ margin between peak winter electricity demand in and the output from Britain’s ageing power stations is likely to fall to just 1.2 per cent – down from 4.1 per cent last year, it finds.

But an emergency system of backup power plants, first introduced last winter, will be in place again this year to help prevent blackouts, the company said.

Even with the backup plants in place, the effective spare margin last winter was 6 per cent and this year will fall to 5.1 per cent – the lowest since 2007-08, Grid data shows.

The backup power plant operators will be paid £37 million to guarantee they can fire up if needed in an emergency, and more if they are actually called upon.  Read more »

Guest Post – My route to a lower power bill – Part 2

In part one I concentrated on making sensible choices whilst renovating the house to minimise my power use. If you haven’t read it, now may be a time to look as I’m part way through a journey.

Having achieved much with my renovations, including a living area that didn’t drop below 16 degrees in the depths of winter in Auckland before the heating kicked in the following morning, it was time to consider where to go next.

I’d previously looked at Solar water heating but dismissed it for 4 reasons

  • The sun being far away drastically reduced its output in winter as I’d discovered from my DIY solar pool heating. This meant that electric top ups would be needed in winter.
  • Our water heating bill was only $750pa due to the timer on the hot water cylinder limiting the cost.
  • Solar Water heating needed a building consent and I’m totally against giving any more money than necessary to Len Brown and his wasteful council.
  • It needs a licenced plumber to hook it up.

The maths for a 10 year payback in our situation were marginal at best

To reduce our bill further we had two choices, either rewind back in time until before modern life was invented and turn everything off, or look into Solar Panels.

On the face of it, solar power should suit us as we are at home for most of the day, and we have a pool pump that runs whenever the sun is out to heat the pool in summer. The question is how much generation did we need and how much benefit would we get?

Looking at the half hourly smart meter display on the internet gave us a clue, but to really work out what was going on something more accurate was needed.

After a few mistakes along the way I ended up with a product called Open Energy Monitor. This is an open source, make it yourself or buy a kit or buy a made up solution affair from the UK. Anyone that wants to read more can find the website here http://www.openenergymonitor.org/ Be warned this stuff gets technical quite quickly once you go beyond the basics.

The power monitoring is achieved by a combination of plugging an adapter into a wall socket as close as possible to the meter box and either clipping a self adhesive sensor over the flashing light on the smart meter or clipping a current transformer around the incoming supply cable. Sadly the “unique” way Meridian wire their import / export meters up in Auckland means the light isn’t an option so it has to be the CT method.

In NZ / Australia if any of this involves opening an enclosure where live conductors are likely to be exposed such as in the back of a meter board, it needs to be done by a registered electrician. It’s an expensive way of clipping a mainly plastic device around a conductor but there you go.

Once installed Open Energy Monitor allowed me to see what we used, and when we used it.

Armed with the information I could move onto the next bit.   Read more »

Welsh gits looking for the craziest ‘green’ project ever

This has got to be quite possibly the craziest ‘green’ project ever.

If you wanted a single example of how far all those who aspire to govern us after this election can lose any touch with reality, a good place to begin might be page 56 of the Conservative manifesto. Here, in a section on “Energy”, we are told how the Coalition Government has “unlocked £59 billion of investment” to produce “low carbon” electricity to meet our commitments under Ed Miliband’s Climate Change Act. All the projects listed are, of course, hugely subsidised, to produce power costing us all twice or three times as much as that from conventional power stations. But there at the end is a mention of “the Swansea tidal lagoon”.

I admit that, until recently, I had no more idea what this was about than 99 per cent of the population. But I was struck by the remarkable array of backers this scheme has attracted, from the Prudential insurance company and Ed Davey, our Lib Dem Energy and Climate Change Secretary, to George Osborne in his recent Budget speech, and the BBC, which has been giving it excitable puffs.    Read more »

Possible “Ice Gas” bonanza for NZ

The other day I highlighted what Japan was doing in exploration for hydrates or “ice gas”.

We are nowhere near peak oil as we discover new sources of energy.

At the Advantage New Zealand Petroleum Summit yesterday, the boss of Shell also covered this energy source.

New Zealand’s next energy game changer could be the “super resource” of gas hydrates, says Shell New Zealand chairman Rob Jager.

Speaking to the Advantage New Zealand Petroleum Summit yesterday, he said “ice gas” beneath the sea off the coasts were recognised internationally as having significant potential as a future energy resource.

“One [government study] explains this resource could possibly be about 10 times as big as the giant Maui gas field when it was first found,” Jager said. “GNS science says we have some of the biggest deposits of ice gas in the world, with the potential to meet all New Zealand’s needs and create a gas export for decades.”    Read more »

Simon Bridges wants more people driving gay cars

It is bad enough that Craig Foss has gotten himself a new gay ute, but now Simon Bridges wants us to drive cars gayer than Fossy’s gay ute.

I mean seriously? Expensive, over priced, non-Green, electric cars?

The only good news is he doesn’t support subsidies.

Transport and Energy Minister Simon Bridges has officials investigating ways to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles.

But he doesn’t favour incentives or subsidies in what he says is “the most EV-ready country in the world” because of New Zealand’s very high proportion of electricity generated from renewable resources.   Read more »

Hundreds of birds fried with latest “green” power project in the US

crescent-011

When “green” power solutions aren’t shredding birds with wind turbines they are frying them with massive subsidised concentrated solar arrays.

It’s no secret that solar power is hot right now, with innovators and big name companies alike putting a great deal of time, money, and effort into improving these amazing sources of renewable energy. Still, the last thing you’d likely expect is for a new experimental array to literally light nearly 130 birds in mid-flight on fire.

And yet, that’s exactly what happened near Tonopah, Nevada last month during tests of the 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project.

According to Rudy Evenson, Deputy Chief of Communications for Nevada Bureau of Land Management (NBLM) in Reno, as reported by Re Wire, a third of the newly constructed plant was put into action on the morning of Jan. 14, redirecting concentrated solar energy to a point 1,200 feet above the ground.

Unfortunately, about two hours into the test, engineers and biologists on site started noticing “streamers” – trails of smoke and steam caused by birds flying directly into the field of solar radiation. What moisture was on them instantly vaporized, and some instantly burst into flames – at least, until they began to frantically flap away. An estimated 130 birds were injured or killed during the test.

[…]    Read more »

Is the case for wind power running out of puff?

As regular readers will know I abhor wind power.

It is for a number of reasons…visual pollution, noise pollution, their bird and bat destroying un-green-ness and the fact that wind power doesn’t work unless it is subsidised.

The UK more than most countries has ‘invested’ billions in wind technology, which has proved spectacularly useless at producing power.

UK electricity demand hit its highest level this winter on Monday – while wind turbines generated their lowest output, official figures show.

Cold weather saw UK demand hit 52.54 gigawatts (GW) between 5pm and 5.30pm, according to National Grid.

At the same time, low wind speeds meant the UK’s wind turbines were producing just 573 megawatts of power, enough to meet only one per cent of demand – the lowest of any peak period this winter, Telegraph analysis of official data shows.

Earlier on Monday wind output had dropped even lower, generating just 354 megawatts at 2pm, or 0.75 per cent of Britain’s needs – the lowest seen during any period this winter.

The analysis will fuel concerns that despite receiving billions of pounds in subsidies, Britain’s wind farms cannot be relied upon to keep the lights on when they are needed the most.

Britain now has about 12 GW of wind capacity installed on and offshore – meaning during Monday’s peak demand period, wind farms were generating less than five per cent of their theoretical maximum output.

Gas, coal and nuclear power plants instead provided the vast majority of the UK’s electricity needs.

A spokesman for National Grid said that Britain’s spare margins – the safety buffer between supply and demand – had remained “adequate”.

On average, UK wind farms produce about 28 per cent of their theoretical maximum power output.

But critics warn that cold snaps when demand soars can often coincide with periods when the wind doesn’t blow.

Read more »

Labour in the UK declares a crisis in energy…problem now solved

Oh dear lord, it seems Ed Miliband has David Cunliffe and the NZ Labour party advising them.

They are even mimicking declaring a crisis for particular industries and just like in New Zealand they have tried to come up with their own power solution.

It has of course been widely mocked.

Labour’s flagship energy price freeze was branded ‘a joke’ last night, as senior figures in the party confirmed it has been reviewed in the light of falling prices.

The price freeze, which Mr Miliband pledged would last until 2017, has been thrown into turmoil in recent weeks as a slump in the price of oil saw the prospect of falling energy prices.

The Daily Mail revealed yesterday that Labour is conducting a U-turn on the policy, which was launched by Ed Miliband in 2013.

It has now been ‘re-branded’ as a price cap, which will allow bills to fall to reflect tumbling wholesale prices.

Yesterday E.On became the first Big Six firm to offer a cut in gas prices of 3.5 per cent to its customers, and others are expected to follow suit.  Read more »

Can anyone spot the problem with this picture?

Only the Greens would promote this…in this way.

Read more »

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