Articles about Energy

Big risks in avoiding corporate sustainability

Posted 20 January 2020 by Chris Hargreaves

Your corporate sustainability targets might be in for a shock! Prior to Christmas, the Government announced a raft of proposed changes to the emissions trading scheme (ETS) to rapidly decarbonise the economy. This included lifting the ETS price cap from $25/tonne to $50/tonne and creating a market floor of $20/tonne. If we take natural gas as an example, where at $25/tonne the ETS is priced at $1.37, at the market cap of $50/tonne this would increase the cost of the ETS to end users by $1.37/GJ (0.49c/kWh). With current raw gas pricing hovering around $9/GJ for large...
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How efficient, sustainable energy innovations could boost your brand

Posted 9 January 2020 by Chris Hargreaves

Research shows that using low-carbon energy solutions can improve your reputation – helping make the case for sustainable energy innovation. Deloitte recently published The Global Millennial Survey. This reinforced a number of other surveys that concluded that brands with a strong corporate social responsibly and sustainability plan will attract a higher caliber pool of prospective employees and a large range of engaged customers. 42% of those surveyed stated that they would start and or deepen a relationship with business who has products/services that positively impact the...
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The price of power: monopoly management of the national grid benefits the few

Posted 22 October 2019 by David Spratt

Our national grid pricing needs solutions. And after 10 years of pondering its navel, the Electricity Authority (EA), the Government agency charged with ensuring an efficient and effective electricity industry, plans to release a paper that may or may not gain industry consensus and may or may not actually be the right answer.  A decade in, the EA claims it is past the point where it is seeking an industry consensus, and advises that “you’ll have to show a factual error in our assumptions to change...
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“Accelerated Electrification” Misses the Mark on Process Heat

Posted 21 August 2019 by Richard Gardiner

Most of us now agree that climate change is all too real and we therefore all need to do something about it, sooner rather than later.However, some impulsive political changes in the past 18 months, like unilaterally banning all new offshore oil and gas exploration, can be environmentally counter-productive. For example, NZ coal usage in 2018 was the highest for a decade! Undoubtedly, this is a decision our political leaders didnt want to see happen.Wood biomass however is a great renewable resource and therefore represents an important and growing energy solution.At this time, NZ...
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Searching for ecological nirvana in energy supplies

Posted 14 August 2019 by David Spratt

“A society grows great when people plant trees whose shade they know they will never lie in.” - Greek Proverb I spent the best part of Saturday planting trees, flaxes, and ferns along a stream bank with my son, Tom, and his best mate. The task was “wholesome” according to Tom, as the plantings should facilitate the recovery of a stream that was once badly polluted but now runs mostly clear following positive steps by my dairy farmer neighbor to abide by the Fonterra clean stream accords. As I patted my own back for my newly enhanced green credentials, I turned my...
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Sustainability now considered economic and environmental

Posted 7 August 2019 by Chris Hargreaves

New Zealand has set a target under the Paris Agreement to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, and to adopt increasingly more ambitious targets in the future. Per capita, New Zealand's emissions are one of the highest in the world with an output of <1% of the total world's emissions. Business New Zealand recently released a report which concluded that "opportunities to improve our performance in productivity and renewable penetration lie in every part of the energy supply chain. While productivity and renewables are not necessarily mutually...
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Tech That Keeps The Planet Cool

Posted 31 July 2019 by David Spratt

I lit my first fire at home for the year on the unusual date of May 31, just one day before the official beginning of winter. I live in the sunny north side of Auckland, but I would have expected to see my dog sleeping in front of the fire by around late April. There are some of us who believe that to the detriment of future generations the planet is suffering from global warming and others who feel that the scientific consensus is still a long way from being agreed. Either way, I do believe there is a general accord that we can’t keep consuming the planet’s resources at the rate...
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Can New Zealand Electrify Industry?

Posted 20 May 2019 by Chris Hargreaves

The Government has set a target for New Zealand’s economy to be net-zero emissions by 2050. Does our current approach stack up? Methanex - adding 15% to national electricity demand? In a recent submission to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Methanex, New Zealand’s largest single gas user suggested that should the company transition from gas-based manufacturing of methanol to electricity, this would increase New Zealand's national electricity demand by around 15% (5,800 gigawatt-hours). In other words, there would be a Rio Tinto Aluminum Smelter-sized...
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New Zealand electricity prices: so high and still rising

Posted 9 May 2019 by David Spratt

When we look at New Zealand electricity prices, it is important to consider lines companies in the equation. The lines company or electricity distribution business (EDB) operates and maintains the transformers, power poles and copper wires that keep our local electricity networks running and delivering reliable electricity to the door. Examples in the EMA membership region are Northpower, Vector, Counties Power, WEL Networks and Powerco. Lines companies in your power bill Take my last home bill. The energy component, which is the part provided by my retailer, was $184.76. This part...
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Energy Price Review – arguments against electricity pricing

Posted 1 May 2019 by David Spratt

In 2009 a visiting expert on commodity studies from Stanford University, Professor Frank A Wolak, opined that each year New Zealand’s electricity consumers were paying around $700 per household more than they should. This figure also applied to the tens of thousands of small businesses using small amounts of electricity. What followed was a studied silence from the industry. Government's Energy Price Review In April 2018 after years of consumer electricity prices continuing to rise at a rate far exceeding inflation, the Minister of Energy and Resources appointed Miriam R Dean...
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