Posts Tagged Electricity

Solar, call now and get a free set of steak knives

Posted 19 February 2020 by Chris Hargreaves

Making solar part of your business's energy mix has never been more appealing. But risk and opportunity balances between an optimised design and types of PPAs. While there's heat in the market, there are incentives - but don't unthinkingly sign away your business for a free set of steak knives! Or solar panels, for that matter. According to the Electricity Authority, New Zealand's solar energy generation capacity increased to just under 115MW in 2019. Putting this into perspective, 115MW of installed capacity is similar to one of Contact or Mercury's Geothermal stations. As a...
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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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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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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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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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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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Electricity spot pricing – rip off or reasonable?

Posted 4 March 2019 by David Spratt

 [Electricity] Demand has, year on year, been steadily rising. This trend is likely to continue, so don’t look for much relief from higher electricity prices in the near term. I recently talked to a businessperson who had signed up to an electricity contract that had his company effectively speculating on the spot market. What the company didn’t realise (and wasn’t told) was that playing the electricity spot market was fraught with upside cost risk. In their case they are now paying more than three times the standard retail electricity rate for business, and facing significant...
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Is There a Magic Bullet for Energy Pricing?

Posted 14 November 2018 by Chris Hargreaves

The following post was written by Bryan Leyland for KiwiBlog. Bryan is an engineer with over 60 years experience in the energy sector and regularly comments on various topics. He is a strong believer in a single payer market and Carl Hanson, former head of the Electricity Authority argues against this here. At Total Utilities, we track the competitiveness of contestable costs and been doing so for nearly 20 years. While this data is representative of our customer base (which is made up of small and large commercial and industrial customers and does not include residential customers) we...
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Mercury’s pioneering direct grid-connected battery: it’s large and in-charge

Posted 24 September 2018 by Richard Gardiner

During the recent two-day EMANZ Conference that I attended in Auckland with our Energy Manager, Tânia Coelho, I was struck by the surge of genuine enthusiasm for and commitment to renewable energy from the diverse group of Energy Managers and others who attended. In this regard, our country is in the fortunate position that 85% of our electricity supply already comes from renewable energy, mainly hydro-electricity, geothermal and wind-generation based. Successive National and Labour Coalition Governments have made a strong and binding commitment to New Zealand meeting its global carbon...
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Plenty of power for electric cars in NZ

Posted 9 May 2018 by David Spratt

In this Part III examining whether electric vehicles (EVs) are a fad or really are the future, we consider the implications for the supply of electricity and more. What happens when New Zealand stops importing oil and substitutes it with hydro, geothermal, solar and wind energy to make our cars and trucks work? To start with, New Zealand would move from a current account deficit to a budget surplus. That’s good news all round. Save money on oil, save the planet, sleep easy at night. Except… There are 3.9 million registered cars and trucks in New Zealand. They consume $11.8...
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