Power shortages

On the front page of todays Dominion Post is the artilce “Power crisis? what power crisis?”, outlining how a drought in the South Island has caused hydro lake levels to fall to 52% of average, with a trend on a graph mirroring the 1992 drought and power shortages. the Government is launching a conservation campaign, but insists that there is no crisis and has refused to set a savings target. This is in stark contrast to 2001, when the Government launched a large campaign to save power, with the aim of a 10% cut in consumption over 10 weeks (resulting in an 8% consumption cut). This is despite the lake levels being lower than at any time since 1992, and major industry figures saying we are in a riskier situation than ever before. Why?

It’s an election year. As Paula Oliver writes, “the last thing Labour needs just months from an election, is a serious power shortage that impacts on the way voters live their lives”.

Labour is, of course, doing its absolute best to duck responsibility for the crisis, saying that it is a drought for which it can not be held responsible, and the crisis is being well managed. Which is only partly true.

Of course, Labour did not cause the drought. But it can be held respsonsible for the failure to allow increased power generation by removing RMA restrictions. The resource consent process in the RMA helped create the power crisis by stopping the building of new power stations which can not gain resource consent. A good example of this, was Project Aqua, a project Meridian energy planned which involved diverting water from the Waitaki River near Oamaru into a canal and through several dams. The project would have generated 540 megawatts of electricity, but was cancelled in 2004, as it was unable to gain resource consent, and the Government was unwilling to intervene. Although Aqua would not solve all our power worries, it would have helped, especially given our rising population and the fact we haven’t had any major new power stations built since the Clyde Dam. project Aqua isn’t the only example. Numerous wind farms have faced delays, if not refusal, as a result of MINBYists using the resource consent process to stop them. The result. Not only power shortages, but enviromental problems, as three quarters of new electricity generation under Labour has been thermal, producing a lot more carbon dioxide.

So where do the Greens stand on this. They are supportive of the existing RMA, saying it doesn’t need big changes. They also opposed Project Aqua. The reality is that Project Aqua was a lot more enviromentally friendly than burning coal. Maybe the Greens electricity policy is forcing people to save power by having power cuts? If so, they might just get to see some of that policy implemented.

As for me, I’m going to do my bit to save power by not blogging again until Thursday (or Friday).

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2 Comments on “Power shortages”


  1. Neat info I will come back again soon.

  2. Alix Says:

    GO TO-
    free_ben_and_olivia@live.com
    TYPE IN PASSWORD-
    Freebenandolivia
    DO IT SOON AND SEE WHAT THE GOVERNMENT ARE HIDING BEHIND OUR BACKS.
    Government have stalled my emails. Check tonight before the email address closes.
    Download information- Do not publish any information.
    But beware of the MEAnz cover-up.
    Read draft folders- open all folders- take information.

    Sorry about spelling mistakes on email account- rushed job.


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