Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Blackouts Inevitable Result Of Decades Of Underinvestment In Renewables - Greenpeace

Greenpeace is calling on the Government to urgently unlock new investment in distributed solar, wind power and battery storage following news that unprecedented electricity demand caused blackouts in parts of the country last night.

Unison, estimates that 9,500 homes around Taupō, Hastings and Napier were affected by deliberate blackouts after the lines company responded to a plea from national grid operator, Transpower, to reduce load on the electricity network.

"This supply shortage is the inevitable result of decades of underinvestment in new renewable electricity," says Greenpeace Aotearoa climate and energy campaigner, Amanda Larsson.

"While the rest of the world has been embracing new technologies like household solar, battery storage, onshore and offshore wind, both the Government and power companies in New Zealand have sat on their hands for more than 20 years."

"The large generator-retailers have squatted on windfarm consents for decades without building them. Meanwhile, power companies have actively discouraged households from installing solar panels and batteries."

Unison itself caused controversy in 2016 when it introduced the so-called "solar tax", which slapped solar users with a higher lines charge than regular users. Around the same time, the large generator-retailers cut their buy-back rates for solar exported back to the grid.

"Despite more than half of New Zealanders wanting to generate their own power, the Government has done nothing to support people and communities to install solar or wind. Meanwhile, the regulator has allowed power companies to make it as difficult as possible so that they could keep being the only game in town when it comes to power generation," says Larsson.

"The rules that govern our electricity market are out of date and they are causing all sorts of issues. New Zealand is importing record amounts of coal, driving up carbon emissions in the middle of a climate crisis. This has sent wholesale prices skyrocketing. And now people are having their power cut off."

Larsson says the way the electricity market is currently designed creates perverse incentives for power companies to keep electricity supply scarce because it ensures power company profits remain high. The market also incentivises power companies to keep some coal and gas burning.

"Coal and gas are expensive to run. Whenever Huntly is firing, it pushes up the wholesale price of electricity, meaning power companies make a killing off of the low-cost hydro power stations that were built decades ago with taxpayer money."

"These market dynamics mean the power companies have had little reason to invest in new and low-cost renewables like solar and wind. In fact, they’ve had a strong incentive to discourage new renewables and to keep belching carbon emissions into our fragile atmosphere."

Larsson says the Government ultimately needs to fix the electricity market so that these perverse incentives are removed.

"But the Government can act immediately to shift the balance by supporting a nationwide rollout of distributed solar and wind power. We’re calling on the Government to introduce a zero interest loan for household solar and battery systems.

"The Government should also act urgently to insulate New Zealand’s 600,000 under-insulated homes, provide grants for community energy schemes and ensure all new housing is built with solar and battery systems installed."

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why New Zealand Needs To Change Its Defence Habits

In a flashback to the military displays of days gone by, one of our frigates recently joined a Carrier Strike show of force in the South China Sea, en route to a joint military exercise in Singapore with our traditional allies, called BersamaGold21. Reportedly, Anna Powles, from the Centre of Defence and Security Studies at Massey University felt this to be a case of us doing our bit to uphold international law, and the right of free transit through the region in question... More>>

Government: New COVID-19 Protection Framework Delivers Greater Freedoms For Vaccinated New Zealanders

Vaccinated New Zealanders will regain everyday freedoms when the country moves to a new simplified COVID-19 Protection Framework that doesn’t rely on nationwide lockdowns as the main measure to stop the virus spreading. In a suite of announcements that establish a pathway out of restrictions the Government is also providing up to $940 million per fortnight to support businesses through the challenging period... More>>



Government: Responds To Independent Review Into WorkSafe

The Government has clear expectations that WorkSafe must action the recommendations of the independent review into the regulator to improve its management of adventure activities following the tragedy at Whakaari White Island, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood says... More>>

Government: New Zealand Secures Historic Free Trade Deal With The United Kingdom
New Zealand and the United Kingdom have agreed in principle the details of a historic Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which will further accelerate our COVID-19 economic recovery say Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor... More>>


Ombudsman: Launches Investigation Into MIQ Booking System
The Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier is launching a broad investigation into the Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) booking system after receiving hundreds of complaints... More>>


Pay Cheque To Pay Cheque: Half A Million New Zealanders Have No Savings
New findings from the Consumer NZ sentiment tracker found that 15% of New Zealanders had no savings, and a further 27% were anxious about their level of savings and would like to have more tucked away... More>>

Government: Mandatory Vaccination For Two Workforces

Large parts of two workforces critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 will be required to be vaccinated, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Our education and health and disability workforces have done an incredible job throughout this pandemic to keep themselves and people safe,” Chris Hipkins said.... More>>

Green Party: Deeply Concerned Space Launches May Be Breaching Nuclear-free Laws

The Green Party is deeply concerned that space launches by Rocket Lab may be breaching nuclear-free laws, given our long-standing position as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty... More>>




InfoPages News Channels