Reader Comments on Aardvark Daily 27 July 2001
Note: the comments below are the unabridged
submissions of readers and do
not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher.
From: Dwayne For : The Editor (for publication) Subj: Wind instead of Hydro power! So far there is only one small 225kW wind turbine in Wellington, and it takes a long time to get resource consents to install more of them. No wonder we rely so heavily on hydro power. We should get 20% of all generation capacity from wind where the return on investment depends on the location rather than the installed cost because when it blows the marginal cost is very low (compared to the average cost). Of course Ms Helen is only thinking about gas fired stations, but we need a wider range of generation capacity than just hydro and thermal. From: Rob K For : The Editor (for publication) Subj: power for Knowledge Based Business Power is the lifeblood of a business. My computer center serves a world wide customer base with a high value logistics database. We can't afford to be down. So we invest in redundent power, redundent air conditioning, onsite 4 hour maintenance and high value common repair parts and components. An last week our provider of communications lost it for approximately 20 hours and they didn't have any of those things. What to do? Ok, so it's written in their contract to not do stupid stuff. They did it anyway. We're in a position to not be able to change because they are one of the few major players that can do EVERYTHING we need for our longdistance dedicated lines and infrastructure maintenance. If it were up to me, we'd change today. But it's not. Now what? From: Christopher Cookson For : The Editor (for publication) Subj: Power crisis - another case of thinking inside the box. I remember a couple of years ago when some enthusiastic person was telling me how wonderful power deregulation here and in California would be. They were tied up with Amway or some such thing, and could see their wonderful organisation being able to supply consumers with their every need, no doubt at some exhorbitant price. Their gleeful enthusiasm for the demise of public utilities has been proved rather unfortunate, both here in New Zealand and in California. It seems we like to follow in the footsteps of America when it comes to free enterprise carried to idiotic extremes, and this has certainly been the case with power. The fact is some services are simply better suited to being managed centrally, and while we should always be concerned about getting good value for our money, SOEs, of all businesses, ought to be publicly accountable, and for services as essential as power, public accountability is far more important than accountability to shareholders, who may or may not have any interest in the service actually being provided. Of course, even if the electricity industry was still fully publicly owned and geared toward delivering power, rather than competing with itself, we probably would still be experiencing electricity shortages. Quite simply there is not enough water in the southern lakes to meet the demand. There's been lots of rhetoric from various polititians about our need for a knowledge economy, and this is a perfect example of where working smarter, not harder would solve the problem. No doubt the government, and opposition will be trading blows over who's responsible for why there's not enough power available, but I suspect no one's actually thought about how we could use power more efficiently. Just this morning, I was having a coffee with a client, and I noticed that over the table where we were sitting, were ten incandescent light bulbs of 75 watts each. The same lighting could be provided using more efficient fluorescent fittings which would use around 15 watts each. Of course they would cost more initially, but also come with a vastly longer life expectancy. This was just one small section of the cafe. Overall, the place was probably using around the equivalent of several electric stoves going flat out, just to light the place. I suspect this establishment is not unique. Another interesting thought is that the whole reason the lakes are low is because of lack of rain. Lack of rain also tends to mean reasonably extensive sunshine hours. Solar energy is available, although expensive. On the other hand, the majority of New Zealand dwellings have extensive north facing roofs , which when combined provide a huge surface area for potential solar energy capture. Instead of storing the energy, and using hazardous lead batteries, surplus energy could be fed into the local community grid to feed business demands during the day, and hydro power could be used at night, or during low light conditions. Because most power would be consumed close to where it was generated, losses during transmission would be vastly reduced. Who's going to make use of this huge wasted energy resource? Probably no one, because it's expensive to implement, and without government leadership, and shock - horror, possibly some financial incentives it probably won't happen. New Zealand could transform itself into an energy rich nation with power to spare, with virtually no impact on the environment, in rain or shine, but don't count on it happening. Sometimes, I think that for all their rhetoric, polititians from all political persuations prefer New Zealand to remain a poorly educated low tech peasant economy, as this makes it easier for them to get re-elected.Now Have Your Say
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