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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Baying for blackouts 

Last night I noticed TV3 ("live from beside Lake Tekapo ... but because it's pitch black by 6pm you can't actually see the Lake") has jumped on the blackout bandwagon, salivating at the prospect of night after night of easy stories featuring hard luck households shivering under blankets in rooms lit only by a few pitiful candles, and starting to smell as they're limited to 30 second showers every second day. Never mind that such as scenario is extremely unlikely ... bring it on, says TV3, so we can play the blame game and have some easy, yet dramatic reporting. Despite the very measured warnings from the Minister and the industry, they find a supportive voice in Ben & Jerry Brownlee, for whom (surprisingly)"It's all the gummint's fault for not doing something over the last 8 years."

Right. And how many rivers does Ben & Jerry propose to dam(n) to generate new supply? How many coal-fired plants does he want to commission? How many windfarms would he permit over the heads of whining, National-voting farmers complaining about their rights to uninterrupted views of the very eroding hillsides they denuded? How many naked raindances will be perform at 6.04pm each evening, in front of adoring cameras?

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Good call. I hope their easy dramatic reporting is broadcast to thousands of turned-off television sets. That'll learn 'em.

But all we really need is for the Tiwai Pt aluminium smelter to switch itself off and we'd have no electricity crisis. Probably meet our Kyoto obligations too come to think of it.
Actually, if you want to take some words from a poor schmuck that had to cover the last two dry winters (01-03), there is a bit of an issue here.

Lake levels are currently at 50% and falling and inflows are (last time I looked) at about 60% of average. If you look at the trend line for storage - - you'll note that average storage levels are at their lowest in September.

Also the figures being recorded now are much poorer than what they were in 2001 and 2003. Yet then we had savings campaigns announced well in advance of what we have had this year.

While rainfall could boost storage in Taupo and Manapouri it won't do much for the main lakes in the McKenzie as it'll fall as snow. So the benefits from rain in the immediate future might not be as big as our Minister of Energy might think.

Yes we have more generation now then we had then. But demand has also increased. On average power demand in NZ rises about 5%, or 150MW every year. That has to be factored in.

Finally, and I almost hate to say this, Brownlee might have a point about the politics aspect. It is an election year and one can imagine the last thing a Government, that's already well behind in the polls, would want to do is acknowledge a serious problem in electricity supply.
Look, when are we going to get to the real problem here?

A lack of international cricket games for Dunedin has totally led to this predicament.

On another issue notice how Invercargillitte managed last night to take a dig at Aucklanders when asked about the Tiwai smelter being shit down.

And why or why do people in small towns are small minded fucks?

Because they are.

Last electricity crisis they were comparing Aucklands savings with other large cities and we were lower. Turns out we were lower because our use was already relatively low compared to other regions and therefore people couldn't make the same size reductions.
I'm sorry for the lack of grammatical structure in the above post.

I attempt will much more future in.


personally I blame the Warriors

On this issue, Brownlee has a huge point. (Cheap pun with the adjective not accidental)

The crisis, what crisis attitude being adopted by Parker is purely down to it being Election Year. Ironically though, it’s that kind of spin, rather than any power cuts, that is likely to bring down this government.

Having said that, I think the hysteria about power at the moment is great.

Makes a welcome change from all the pissing & moaning from Wellington NIMBYs trying to stop wind-farms being built around here.
But what is Brownlee's point exactly? Other than saying "I blame the gummint" he doesn't have one.

I think wind farms are aesthetically pleasing and would welcome a turbine or two in my back yard.
Brownlee’s point (and I didn’t see the item) should be that the Power saving warnings should have been issued earlier, in keeping with when they were in 1992, 2001 etc…

Agree re wind-farms. There’s a protest meeting in my region coming up soon. I’m going to go along and be the lone dissenting voice.

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