Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Power Cuts Could Happen Again


Yesterday’s power cuts could have been prevented because the extreme cold weather had been well signalled days in advance by the Met Service. They could happen again this winter.

All the New Zealand-wide crises since 1992 were caused by low lake levels. Six Auckland blackouts since 2001 were caused by failed power lines. Yesterday’s is the first in many decades that was caused by winter peak demand.

One reason for the high peak is that most of New Zealand’s wood burners have been replaced with heat pumps, which become very inefficient in the coldest weather. We must therefore plan ahead NOW for more peak power shortages – two years ago the coldest day was in September.

Here’s what we should do:

Communication: the highest peak occurred at 6:20 pm. Transpower could have put out a call on the 6:00 news to please immediately turn off unused heaters, lights, and even heated towel rails. This is officially called a “conservation campaign”, which is explicitly ruled out by regulation.

Generators: Was Huntly going at full power? The EM6live site seemed to show it was at only around 2/3 capacity. Why did Genesis hold back, if indeed they did? – the winter blast had been forecasted days ahead. Were any gas-fired power stations kept off-line, and if so, why?

Local lines companies: are the key players in power shortages. Bring back ripple control of hot water, or any of the modern system that do the same thing. Prepare NOW for a likely repeat of yesterday before winter ends.

Long-term response to winter peaks – energy efficiency in houses is the cheapest way to reduce winter peaks, and makes big differences to people’s health. And there are new technologies being developed in New Zealand for clean home wood burning, clean enough for mid-cities and smoky valleys.

EECA is the government department that could promote these solutions, to protect both our power systems and people’s health. Government needs to instruct EECA, NOW, to move to protect New Zealanders from future blackouts.

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Hospitality NZ: Hospitality Wages Jump 9% To Pass Living Wage
Wages and salaries across the hospitality sector continue to increase despite businesses having to battle through some of the toughest trading periods in living memory... More>>

Climate Leaders Coalition: Launches New Statement Of Ambition, Appoints New CEO Convenor

The Climate Leaders Coalition is tonight officially launching a new Statement of Ambition to accelerate business action on climate change... More>>

Retail: New Law Paves Way For Greater Supermarket Competition

Legislation that bans major supermarkets from blocking their competitors’ access to land to set up new stores paves the way for greater competition in the sector, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Dr David Clark said... More>>

MYOB: New Data Shows Increase In SMEs Experiencing Stress And Anxiety

The lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a surge in the number of local SME owners and operators experiencing stress and anxiety, according to new research from business management platform, MYOB... More>>

Carbonz: Cashing In On Carbon: The New Marketplace Helping Native Forest To Thrive

The country’s first voluntary carbon credit marketplace, Carbonz, is here to restore native biodiversity and help Aotearoa reach its carbon zero goals by selling the first carbon credits exclusively from native forest... More>>
Entrust District: Dividend Will Be Welcomed After Another Tough Year
We’ve all heard of the saying; “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” but for Aucklanders within the Entrust District, getting their share of Entrust’s 2022 annual dividend payment really is as good as it sounds... More>>