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19.08.2015
The ability to pick your energy provider has given the customer more control over their utility pricing. To see our content at its best we recommend upgrading if you wish to continue using IE or using another browser such as Firefox, Safari or Google Chrome. The last few weeks have seen the withdrawal of many cheap energy deals available to consumers, with a number of energy companies pulling their cheapest tariffs and one supplier raising their prices by 9pc.
I was pointing out the Greens are against nuclear, coal and large hydro which doesn’t bode well for the future cost of power. Of course once you have a dam in place, or a wind turbine in place, the operating costs are less than having to keep digging up coal from the ground.
So if you look at the graph I provided, it shows that solar has no operating costs (of course) but huge construction costs. This entry was posted on Saturday, April 20th, 2013 at 2:15 pm and is filed under NZ Politics. In the top graph the construction costs of hydro and coal look to be quite similar, so what is your point? Solar power needs to be treated differently – it is relatively straight forward to install solar power on the roofs of most houses, so individually no huge capital project, and this would reduce the requirements of future generation projects. I guess it’s full steam ahead for Right wing ‘lets make profit from a public good’ propaganda machine. Funny you say that, when the fact is that power price increases and profits surged under Labour, and have been restrained under the current Govt. The Greens may not know much about the environment or economics, but they sure know marketing. It’s generally treated as an operating cost for tax purposes as it reflects the loss of value of the original capital item.
However, a high cap business should retain substantially greater earnings (or take big loans at replacement time) to rebuild\replace the asset.
So, in theory if you get your depreciation right then the average operating costs over the life of the asset take in to account the loss in value.
We then need to add to that a decent return on the original capital over the life of the asset. However, I think that’s all moot as confusingly operating costs can also mean the costs of operating the asset without worrying about depreciation and my judgement is that the graphs above are the ones without worrying about depreciation.
Shadbolt was fairly correct when he claimed that it cost a few cents to produce power by hydro. I bothered to read the original article – he basically dodged the depreciation issue by the way he did the original calculation. He converted everything in to costs per KWh and used production costs, expected life of the asset, construction and decommissioning costs and as such it DOES take in to account all capital costs but does NOT include any returns (profits) or risk costs.
On a side note – nuclear would be safer than anything involving batteries (and coal and oil incidentally).
I should add that there are a few issues with IFRS too- but a simplistic (namely that of yours truly) view of amortising on the basis of historic costs is that you simply-under provision for an asset that you will have to replace at a future price – not a backward looking one. Looking at the graphs the choice of colours looks deliberate to stress or lessen different elements. While talking of cheap hydro has anyone got a clue as to what the lifespan of a dam is and do the storage lakes silt up? My understanding is that not a single wind turbine built in NZ will generate enough electricity to repay its capital cost. We have vast reserves of oil and shale gas, enough for anticipated world demand for centuries ahead. New sources of energy are part of the future, but probably our great-great-great-great-great grandchildren’s future. Of course none of this will stop the Malthusian’s trying to send us back to the caves through energy deprivation.
If one looks at the actual data (not the Green dream factory stuff), wind turbines on land only last about 15 years and those at sea only 10.


As for the graphs, if fraccing was allowed, the cost of CCGTs on gas would be by far the cheapest LRMC.
It isn’t worth trying to have any discussion with the Greens on electricity generation. 1950 — American Petroleum Institute says world oil reserves are at 100 billion barrels. The now widespread use of fracking and access to tar sands will continute increase oil reserves, while newly discovered, vast quantities of shale gas will transform our energy future.
You can basically keep them going forever (not literally of course) – it can require some significant costs though. But what gets me is these buggers fighting an election on keeping a near monopoly on power, then trashing it for being a monopoly only to propose a bigger monopoly (monopsony).
If one takes the published data on MRPs Ngatamariki, the capital cost is about $480M for 80MW and 25 year life.
This does not apply to NZ ( as we already have 75+% renewables and have had for a long time –just in case the Greens did not realise ).
Hydro dams such as those on the Clutha will silt up over the decades, so have a finite life, even if this is a century or more. The cheap electricity days of New Zealand came not from our hydro dams, which are characterised by having fairly poor back-up storage compared with many overseas. Cheap electricity in NZ came from the windfall of the huge Maui gas field, which now, alas is in its old age, with its economic breath weak.
If the Bluff smelter closes, the price of infrastructure to take power north and pressure from our balance of payments deficit will force us to find another big industrial client from abroad, whose only reason to come to NZ, will be a deal on electricity. So we get graphs for “supposed” production, construction and operating costs, so what are we supposed to believe? What is not addressed here is the fact, that fossil fuels get more expensive year by year, due to increased scarcity or increased costs of extracting of what is left to be available. KrazyKiwi believes to know better, thinking more and more resources are discovered and can be exploited. It is NOT getting cheaper to get the stuff out of the grounds, and that is showing in the resource prices traded.
As for your pleas of “there is no alternative”, do you presume to know what all the alternatives are? Operating costs or SRMC might be used on merit order but it is LRMC that determines what plants are built.
New sources of energy are part of the future, but probably our great-great-great-great-great grandchildren’s future. Engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have developed a thermal energy storage system that will work as a viable alternative to current methods used for storing energy collected from solar panels. If all these wonderful discoveries are being made regarding advances in PVs, then we’d be completely and utterly stark raving mad to invest in now, just before all these paradigm changing things are introduced ! However, there are lots of possible improvements but very few of them scale effectively or can be manufactured industrially. However, families already facing with fuel poverty have historically chosen the more expensive, pre-paid meter plan.  This can result in even higher rates than if a different tariff had been chosen, or comparing more of the available providers before determining the best one.
It is imperative that households looking to cut their expenses and save money on their energy do so immediately to avoid missing out on the few remaining deals. But capital is not free (unless you print money!) and there is an ongoing cost to capital – either interest or opportunity cost. However he did ignore the cost of upgrades a few years back including the drilling a of new tunnel at Manapouri.
They are not there yet cheaper power in NZ (I think your graph is not accurate for 2013 looks closer to the 2000 solar power situation) , however they are more efficient than 10-20 years ago.
Deliberately increasing the cost of electricity (ETS, limiting supply etc) does make the ROIC look better though. Generation would be at about 95% load factor and the O&M would be about $10-20Mpa, depends on how many well workovers are needed.


They also can’t distinguish between revenue and profit, which puts them on a parallel universe and explains why few with any braincells take them seriously. The baseline case the regional authorities consider in consent applications is if the dams are there and the floodgates fully open.
There is a small hydro scheme up the Waihopai in Blenheim that was filled in a year and is now run of the river.
In the first quarter of 2013 Spain saw almost all of its investment in renewable energies evaporate, plummeting a mind-numbing 96%. This is because of topography and our regard for the environment (eg stopping the raising of Lake Manapouri).
But hey, shale gas and other resources of bitumen type oil or coal that are not yet mined, they are not easy to extract, and the volumes stated seem to be volumes of gross value, not of net extraction value. It will be wise to start now, and to do this gradually, also using funds available smartly, and to diversify anyway.
It’s just that todays government planned, funded and incentivised schemes are turning out to be a total waste of money (who would have thought, huh?), and probably the source of delay the realisation of alternatives to oil, gas and coal.
Incorporating the researchers’ design into the operation of a concentrated solar power plant will dramatically increase annual energy production while significantly decreasing production costs.
Tests also confirmed that the concrete layers conducted heat without causing damage to materials used for storage. The researchers release all these gosh wow press releases because they want more research money.
While I don’t agree with everything Lance has to say I like the fact he is very transparent with his involvement and any “biases” he may have. Seems the best by far, a thermal power station where you don’t have to pay to heat the water. At Clyde and Roxburgh, Contact opens sluice gates on the bottom of the dams in big floods to try and desilt. President Obama once touted Spain as a shining example of green economy success, see here and here. The dam’s turbines wear out, and need replacing, and of course, continuing maintenance. They, of course, cannot provide any form of guaranteed supply until energy storage technology also makes some major leaps and bounds in terms of efficiencies and costs. They also need gas turbines or coal plant running all the time for when the wind suddenly drops and more generation is needed.
There have also been very expensive upgrades to meet the new grid compliance and protection rules. Clearly Obama’s energy advisers had no clue about the complete lack of viability of renewable energies and have left the President standing embarrassed.
Will the USA be a net importer of oil (as it is today), or net exporter in the very near future? That said, some of the materials engineering being made possible by research into nano-structures (a very broad term) looks very promising, in the medium term. If things worked out in practice as the left would like, communism would have been a success.
That is why despite Denmark having all those turbines (and power double the cost of ours) they haven’t been able to shut any of their thermal plant down.
Instead it is capitalism which has improved the lot of mankind, hard though that might be for you to accept. The cheapest deals are often only offered for a limited time, and can be pulled from sale at the supplier’s discretion. Although a number of cheap fixed deals have now been withdrawn, there are still a few available and many cheap discounted internet tariffs that offer considerable savings over standard tariffs that many in the UK may unknowingly be on, especially if they have never switched before.



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