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IToldYaSo -- the energy shortage

10 May 2024

Yesterday I received an email from a regular reader that started off with the following:

"Try not to feel too smug"

He then went on to advise that Transpower were warning of possible power shortages between 7am and 9am this morning.

A little while later I got a txt from my power company advising the same thing.

Immediately I jumped online and checked to see if New Zealand had been reclassified as a third world country or something.

No, apparently not - and that surprised me.

Regular readers will know that I've been warning of the looming power shortage for quite some time now.

Every year it seems to get worse and every year little seems to be done to address the issue.

At least this time the media seems to be waking up to the threat, RNZ publishing a story titled Pressure on power supply 'timely wake up call' for industry and the NZH carrying a story in which it quotes ACT leader David Seymore agreeing with me that this is "Third World stuff”.

I mean, we're still only in Autumn and the threat of power cuts due to lack of capacity are looming. What's going to happen if we end up with a protracted period of unusually cold weather this winter?

The problem is that things are not going to get better by themselves and our increased reliance on solar and wind doesn't help mitigate any "worst case" scenarios where the weather doesn't cooperate.

Then, as I've said so many times before, start factoring in the effect of a rapidly rising percentage of EVs in the vehicle fleet and it's easy to see that the demand versus supply situation will only deteriorate over the coming years.

That is, unless we box smart and perhaps decide to take a world-leading stance.

As I've previously written, EVs have the potential to be the saviour of our energy infrastructure.

While other places such as parts of Australia and the USA are spending huge sums on installing batteries on their grids so as to cope with peak-loads, we have the opportunity to sponsor a shift to using EVs as our nation-wide distributed battery storage for handling peak loads on the grid.

Many EVs these days have the ability to back-feed into the grid so that they can actually supply the power needed to run your house at times of peak demand. I'm wondering if it might not be a wise investment on the part of government to significantly subsidise the purchase of such vehicles on the proviso that they're charged and connected to the grid at times of maximum demand. This becomes the equivalent of buying a huge battery like the Victorian Big Battery to help balance the load on the grid.

As well as providing some resilience to our power infrastructure, these EVs would also be reducing our CO2 emissions and cutting the cost of fuel-imports which bites into our trade balance with the rest of the world.

Surely this has to be a win-win for everyone?

Sadly, given that it's probably a pretty smart idea, I suspect it will be completely ignored by "the powers that be" in favour of simply sitting back and waiting for the inevitable to happen -- which appears to have been the strategy for the past decade or two.


Carpe Diem folks!

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