Taranaki is saved!

In 2016 MBIE produced a report about the demand for electricity considering various scenarios going out to 2050.

Clearly, that was before the Comrade’s Captain’s Call Policy (CCCP) was announced and before Shaw committed us to Zero Carbon (whatever that might mean.)

Since gas, oil and coal are now out of the equation for electricity generation, what is going to get us from the installed capacity of 9,824 MW to the projected required installed capacity of 16,733 MW?  The extra capacity needed to bring online being 6,908 MW.  MBIE project that 279 MW will come from efficiencies and biogas, wood etc.

Clearly it all has to be renewables; we have been told that and Minister Woods assures us that we will have a ‘just transition” to said sources.

The MBIE figures allowed for increased gas which offset decreased coal so there was a net zero there. However they allowed for an increase in installed capacity of hydro of 996 MW – an 18% increase in our current installed capacity.

Given that the Greens will never allow a new dam to be built, I am not sure how they can squeeze another 18% out of the current hydro schemes so that will have to come from wind.

The projected increase in installed capacity for wind in the MBIE numbers is 2,987 MW and the hydro needs to be added to that so we will need 3,981 MW of new wind farms blotting our 100% pure New Zealand landscapes and views. (NIMBY, just in case you were wondering.)

People send Whaleoil stuff and a recent email linked to a study about the land area needed for wind farms.  The more turbines, the more wind shadow down-wind and the less productive the downwind turbines are.  The bigger the turbine, the greater the area of wind shadow.

So the boffins looked at umpteen wind farms to see what the reality was as opposed to the rosy-eyed projections on the prospectus pitched to investors and government subsidy providers.

Linking back to the original article gave this:  (We = watts of electricity) Quote.

Power density is the rate of energy generation per unit of land surface area occupied by an energy system. The power density of low-carbon energy sources will play an important role in mediating the environmental consequences of energy system decarbonization as the world transitions away from high power-density fossil fuels. All else equal, lower power densities mean larger land and environmental footprints. The power density of […] wind power remain surprisingly uncertain: estimates of realizable generation rates per unit area for wind […] power span 0.3–47 We m−2. We refine this range using US data from 1990–2016. We estimate wind power density from primary data. […] The mean power density of 411 onshore wind power plants in 2016 was 0.50 We m−2. Wind plants with the largest areas have the lowest power densities. Wind power capacity factors are increasing, but that increase is associated with a decrease in capacity densities, so power densities are stable or declining. If wind power expands away from the best locations and the areas of wind power plants keep increasing, it seems likely that wind’s power density will decrease as total wind generation increases. End of quote.

That is not an encouraging story.

Back to New Zealand’s required extra capacity: to make the maths easy, let’s round it to 4,000 MW.  At the mean power density currently being delivered in the 411 wind farms studied that will require 8,000 million square metres of land or 8,000 square kilometres.

How much land area is that?

Coincidentally, it is just a tad larger than the whole of the Taranaki province. (7,254 sq km).  We can’t use the national park (342 sq km) so that only leaves 6,921 (sq km).  The turbines will have to spill over the borders into the Waikato or Whanganui a little.

Since Taranaki is going to lose the oil and gas (which has a high power density and takes up diddly-squat land), they will welcome with open arms the monstrous rotating arms of the wind turbines dotted shoulder-to-shoulder across their province.  Being on the west coast they get every wind that blows so it seems like a win-win result to me.

What a wonderfully “just” transition.

Maybe our dearly departed Taranaki commenter cows4me would have had other ideas?


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WH is a pale, stale, male who does not believe all the doom and gloom climate nonsense so enjoys generating CO2 that the plants need to grow by driving his MG.

To read my previous articles click on my name in blue.

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