No Minister

Learning from other’s mistakes

with 13 comments

I’m not talking about Labour and certainly not the NZ Greens. They’re committed to a path of insanity when it comes to renewable energy, as they are most other things in our society.

No, I’m looking at National and ACT. I understand that polling shows that Jacinda still has quite a grip on the female vote in this country, and that polling and focus groups show the same cohort as being the determining factor on things like wearing face diapers to ward off the dreaded Chinese Lung Rot – and saving the planet! I also get that this is backed by a wall of almost monolithic MSM propaganda 24/7.

But we surely now have enough examples from “leaders” in renewable energy around the world who have started to run into big problems with both the unreliability of these new power sources and the increase in power costs associated with them, as well as the failure to reduce CO2 emissions, (which is what this was supposed to be all about in the first place) to be able to argue back on the basis of sheer, basic, in-your-face reality and not join the insanity.

Here’s the latest victim of that reality, South Africans left in the dark after grid collapse:

South Africans are struggling in the dark to cope with increased power cuts that have hit households and businesses across the country.

The rolling power cuts have been experienced for years but this week the country’s state-owned power utility Eskom extended them so that some residents and businesses have gone without power for more than 9 hours a day.

Eskom has officially said that the blackouts are not a temporary situation and they estimate that it will take “years” to stabilise the power grid. The unstated assumption is that they can manage this feat at all in the face of the path their government has followed on trying to reduce CO2 emissions by building wind farms and closing some of their old coal-fired plants and not spending money on repairs and maintenance of the others because they anticipated their eventual closure.

Does this sound familiar? It should given that we’ve seen the exact same thing happening in Australia, Europe (especially Germany), Texas, and California:

  • Power blackouts (both rolling and sudden)
  • Massive increases in electricity costs
  • Little to no impact on reducing CO2 emissions

The biggest joke here is that we may be about to commit the same suicidal actions just as the rest of the world begins to turn away from it, despite all their hot air on the subject of Global Warming, because those energy realities are starting to bite:

World leaders at the Group of 7 summit in Germany signaled they will turn back to fossil fuels despite their commitments to a green energy transition thanks to the ongoing energy crisis.

“The G7 leaders are pretending that nothing has happened to the green agenda,” Benny Peiser, director of the Global Warming Policy Forum, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “In reality, if you look at individual member states… it’s quite obvious that the green agenda will be sunk.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck, a member of the Green Party, announced last week that the government was instituting a surge in the use of coal-powered plants.

Given the steady increase in German reliance on natural gas from Russia over the last few years, their €500 billion Energiewende project increasingly looked like a farce anyway, but it’s taken the Ukranian war to make that obvious.

Habeck is not the only such Green who is waking up, with other Euro Greens beginning to not only get the message that their favoured Renewables are actually better called the Unreliables, but that new – and previously forbidden – thinking is required:

Finland’s Green Party (Vihreät De Gröna) has voted by a large majority at its party conference to adopt a pro-nuclear approach. The party manifesto now states that nuclear is “sustainable energy” and demands the reform of current energy legislation to streamline the approval process for small modular reactors (SMRs). Finland’s is the first Green Party to adopt such a position.

There will be others, judging from this article by a guy who has started up or run companies dedicated to “clean energy technologies”, energy efficient homes and so forth – a True Believer in other words:

I wasted 20 years of my life chasing utopian energy.

Utopian energy is an imagined form of energy that’s abundant, reliable, inexpensive, and also clean, renewable, and life-sustaining. But utopian energy is as much a fantasy as a utopian society.

For years, I chased utopian energy. I promoted solar, wind, and energy efficiency because I felt like I was protecting the environment. But I was wrong! Feeling like you’re doing the right thing doesn’t mean you are. I just couldn’t admit it. My sense of identity was tied to my false beliefs about energy—myths that blinded me to what really does—and doesn’t—help the planet.

He puts forward eight measures of assessment that must all be used when looking at energy sources – emissions being just one of them. The other seven are: security, reliability, affordability, versatility, scalability, and land use.

Suffice to say that he’s realised that renewables don’t do very well when measured on all these factors, as he shows in that article.

Will National and ACT realise the same thing – and more crucially will they be intellectually and politically tough enough to make those arguments?

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Written by Tom Hunter

July 4, 2022 at 10:22 am

13 Responses

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  1. All the evidence is that man made climate change is getting worse. I know that you and others here would like to ignore that. So be it.

    You already know that National has formally committed itself to the emissions reductions targets through to 2030. That means actually doing things to reduce emissions. You already know, being a farmer, that National has accepted the recommendations of He Waka Eke Noa Partnership Plan.

    I am certain that National will continue the drive toward renewable energy. It was a major part of the energy plans during the Key government. Resilience is a necessary part of the electrical energy system, hence the reason why Onslow makes sense. I would also include the canal project on the north side of the Waitaki river.

    I assume you put this item up simply so you could rail against the perfidious nature of National, because you know that National is committed to achieving the emissions reduction targets, and that renewable energy is an obvious part of that.

    waynemapp

    July 4, 2022 at 11:39 am

    • I put it up in the hope that these large pieces of news about foreign governments – whether centre-right or centre-left – falling flat on their faces with the realities of renewable energy programs delivering godawful results that hurt ordinary people, might cause some National Party folk to have another think about their commitments.

      Clearly it’s not aimed at people like you, who refuse to think about, let alone address these realities, which as usual you have failed to do here in any meaningful way, to whit…

      …hence the reason why Onslow makes sense. I would also include the canal project on the north side of the Waitaki river.

      … both of which have been explained to you – in one case by a person in the power industry here – as utterly inadequate solutions. Not that you listened of course.

      Instead, as usual, I merely get trumpeting of the fact that National is still into all this, something neither I nor anybody else, needed to be told by Captain Obvious.

      So be it.
      I guess every commentator has their verbal ticks but this one is getting tiresome. You’re supposedly erudite; find some new way to say the same thing.

      Tom Hunter

      July 4, 2022 at 11:51 am

  2. It seems that rationality and practicalitys isn’t a thing anymore, and it’s all about tribal politics

    Uncoffined

    July 4, 2022 at 12:28 pm

  3. Tom,

    I am well familiar with all the stuff you put up. Most of it is gross exaggeration. For instance, South Africa’s power problems have nothing to do with modern renewables (wind and solar). They have almost none.Texas also doesn’t have much wind or solar. Their problems were winter storms affecting switching gear.

    Yes, I know about the alternative views on Onslow. There are plenty of power experts who also support it.

    Yes, from time to time, I do post on the things you write about, at least when it concerns New Zealand. I will continue to point out to you and others on this site that National does not operate at the rightwing edge that you think it should. And yes, I do get exasperated by the self assurance of your items that only you could be right, and that everyone of a different view is wilfully ignorant.

    There is no evidence that the renewable system in New Zealand is delivering “god awful results” here. If that is what you are trying to suggest, then show some actual evidence that is relevant to the New Zealand system.

    waynemapp

    July 4, 2022 at 12:35 pm

    • For instance, South Africa’s power problems have nothing to do with modern renewables (wind and solar).

      Given that wind and solar are claimed as the future for power in South Africa as part of the whole renwables push for zero CO2 emissions, thereby leading to the closure of coal-fired plants, they must have something to do with it. Whether it’s simple reduction in R&M expenditure for such plants (also seen in the recent Australian power debacle) or deliberate cost increases to make them unaffordable to run- thereby making wind and solar look better – the latter are most definitely the problem.

      Put another way, if wind and solar were not in the mix, even just for planning purposes, this would not be happening.

      And Texas has 23% of its power coming from wind so the crash last Winter was not just about “switching gear”:

      But the cold froze up the logistics of gas production and delivery for homes (not power stations) so electricity was it, causing a massive increase in power consumption. At the same time the cold snap also froze those Texas windmills, producing a gap between supply and demand.

      Then, because the grid had been rendered unstable by the loss of renewables power, it began tripping off reliable base-load power stations that were still operating, increasing the gap still further. ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) estimated that almost 34,000 megawatts of electricity was forced off the system. On average, a single megawatt can power about 500 homes. As a result they also reported that the spot price for electricity in Texas hit a stunning $9000 per MegaWatt-hour. Even in the summer months, $100 per MW-hr would be high.

      And we just saw the same in Australia
      – renewables unable to meet demand.
      – the old baseload system also unable because of closures and failures due to reduced R&M on coal-fired plants the government wants to close.
      – massive increases in electricity costs, both in peak/spot pricing and long-term.

      Unlike South Africa the Aussies were able to avoid rolling blackouts (just) this time, but the more wind and solar they have and the less of baseload supply, the more likely that will all become.

      When we have a situation where even the bloody Green parties of Europe are accepting the energy reality that renewables fail. that the Wayne Mapp’s of NZ’s “centre-right” faction will not, then we’ve got very big problems coming down the road.

      Tom Hunter

      July 4, 2022 at 1:04 pm

  4. @ Wayne Mapp you reflect the responses from the totally captured swamp dwellers who mistakenly consider Wind and Solar as current best practice for reliable sustainable generation?
    Is there any residual minimal guilt in your wholesome support for a clearly failing system across the globe or was such potential for that emotive response surgically removed when you became an MP
    One thousand GW of wind Generation that ceases entirely due to a large winter High Pressure system sitting astride NZ on a mid winters day with single figure daytime temperatures and a fleet of EVs to be charged will require some system of solar and billions of dollars worth of batteries to keep you warm at night. (When the sun is generating on the backside of planet earth.)

    Based upon your assumed acknowledgement of National Party Principles as a candidate to run under the Banner, how did the events surrounding Australian power regulator, “The Australian Energy Market Operator (Aemo)” ordering coal generators to provide power at a loss for shareholders when the market was suspended from generators controls during the threatened blackouts, entirely due to failure of so called renewables that were unable to supply, seem to you in an ethical and morality sense
    Coal Generators privately owned, who are being pressured by limited finance for even basic maintenance, setting aside a total unattainability of funding for new coal energy production.
    It must be somewhat galling in extreme for the sustainable energy school of economic theory to be reminded what a certain, now discredited US president, warned Europe about, in relying on Putin’s Gas for energy. loL.
    German Melons forced to accelerate Coal energy production with one of their number the Minister involved, ROTFLMAO.

    Gravedodger

    July 4, 2022 at 2:23 pm

  5. Once again, here comes Wayne with his, “ALL the evidence” crap. Sorry Wayne, but “science” is not based on evidence alone, and even if it were, it is demonstrably false to state ALL the evidence points to that. Indeed, the very worst greenhouse gas is water vapour and that is certainly not man made.

    Nick K

    July 4, 2022 at 2:29 pm

  6. “Will National and ACT realize the same thing – and more crucially will they be intellectually and politically tough enough to make those arguments?”

    I think this question has been answered already.

    Porky Roebuck

    July 4, 2022 at 3:13 pm

    • Porky it’s very clear that if Mapps a sample of National thinking the answer is emphatically NO.
      Clearly the elite and establishment and gullible voters wont learn until we hit rock bottom as a country

      Old Curmudgeon

      July 5, 2022 at 10:24 am

  7. I will continue to point out to you and others on this site that National does not operate at the rightwing edge that you think it should. And yes, I do get exasperated by the self assurance of your items that only you could be right, and that everyone of a different view is wilfully ignorant.

    This is what’s called “tone policing” and in the pre-Trump era where useless creatures like Mitt Romney /Jeb Bush powerfully influenced the Republican Party it was all the rage. In fact it was the main objection of such people to Trump’s rise in 2015/2016.

    Think about it this way: Wayne Mapp comments occasionally on Chris Trotter’s blog and in the past engaged with Pyscho Milt here. Yet despite having many more disagreements with their Leftist approach on things (???) – I don’t recall him ever castigating them as being on the leftwing edge of their own respective ideology and political parties, or getting exasperated by the self-assurance of their posts on myriad subjects.

    Tom Hunter

    July 4, 2022 at 9:20 pm

    • And speaking of the Mitt Romney wing of the GOP, here’s the POS himself in an Atlantic article bemoaning how bad things are in the US – but not in the way most people think, and including this:

      President Joe Biden is a genuinely good man, but he has yet been unable to break through our national malady of denial, deceit, and distrust. A return of Donald Trump would feed the sickness, probably rendering it incurable.

      Wow, just the sort of politician that GOP voters want on “their side”.

      I liked this concise response:

      Tom Hunter

      July 5, 2022 at 2:33 pm

  8. May as well add Jim Rose’s link here, Part-time power, complete with the classic graph…

    Tom Hunter

    July 4, 2022 at 9:33 pm

  9. Looking at the Transpower Live site this morning, wind is developing about 600MW out of an installed capacity of 1040MW. Yesterday wind was only producing 85MW.

    Part-time power indeed.

    Porky Roebuck

    July 5, 2022 at 8:52 am


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