More data on our wonderful energy system

The MED have produced a Energy Data File for 2o12. It seems to be on a new website for energy facts – though just because I have not seen it before does not mean it is new.

Here;s the starting infographic, which I unfortunately found unreadable.

While it’s nice to see them try an infographic, the point is to make the facts clearer rather than pack everything densely together. So I opened the trusty Skitch, removed the clutter and arrived at this:

Personally I quite like the key statistics of 77% of our electricity is renewable and equivalent to 43% of our oil demand is produced domestically. These are numbers that hold our economy in good standing today and looking forward.

I also like this chart below a lot – it shows that while the economy and population have grown we have managed to control our use of electricity, getting more GDP output per unit of power. It’s called energy intensity, and the movement towards electric cars, public transport, and well insulated buildings will keep things under control in the future.

The ultimate prize is a 100% renewable sources for all energy, including for transport. That’s a very big ask, but we are right up there at number 2 in the world behind Iceland, who invested heavily in geothermal. Meanwhile the future for electricity companies is in transport, and the smart ones will not just plan for that with generating capacity, but plan for the distribution as well.

About Lance Wiggs

@lancewiggs
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13 Responses to More data on our wonderful energy system

  1. Jez Weston says:

    100% renewables for NZ is a pretty small ask. Close the Huntly coal-fired power station, build more geothermal and wind, and upgrade the grid to move power from where we’re generating it to where we are using it. MED’s 2011 Energy Outlook has figures suggesting that this would be the cheapest way to make substantial reductions in NZ’s greenhouse gas emissions as well as getting us the 100% bragging rights.

    (But yes, liquid transport fuels are the hard problem.)

    • Jez Weston says:

      Sorry, I should be more precise in my language – 100% renewables for electricity is a pretty small ask.

  2. @CJ_NZ says:

    All good points except the last sentence. Generation and distribution are separate in NZ (by law unless they have changes that).

    The price of electric cars still don’t make them viable. Would love one for our Second/city car but too expensive.

    • Lance Wiggs says:

      Oh yes – I am very well aware that distribution and generation are separate, and good point. The lines companies are then the ones to take this on I expect? Electric cars are coming – but yes, it certainly won’t happen next year. When it does though I expect a pretty sudden shift, due to superior economics. My pet case study is the taxi fleet in Wellington, which is increasingly hybrid. Lance

      • @CJ_NZ says:

        Lines cos aware of issue. Not sure if they have the answer yet but it will be tech based and they are rolling out smart meters which is the first step.

        If everyone arrives home between 5 and 6 and plugs in their electric car, huge demand on network but reality is 96% won’t need the car again for 12 hours. They could actually use the car battery to help with the even cooking/TV peak then charge car while everyone sleeps (but the wind and geothermal keep generating). Problem is what happens to the 4% that do actual want to use the car a couple of hours later and their battery has been drained.

  3. My maths could be out but, NZ used around 149700 barrels of oil a day in 2010. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2174rank.html
    That’s 554640500 barrels per year. New Zealand produced 17000000 barrels of oil.
    WolframAlpha says that NZ’s production is only 3.065% of our demand, not 43%. http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=17000000+is+what+percent+of+554640500

    Have I missed something there?

  4. farmgeek says:

    The promise of using a national fleet of electric vehicles (or spa pools, hot water cylinders etc) to smooth peaks would not be that farfetched if we had the infrastructure to make it happen. Consumers could decide in advance how important or rapid their charge or discharge should be and pay a tariff accordingly. It would be a beautiful free market solution, but the irony is it can only happen if it is mandated by a forward-looking government.

    • @CJ_NZ says:

      Agree. I have done a bit more reading on the subject and unfortunately it seems our “smart meters” aren’t that smart and really only benefit the power comanpaies (no need for meter readers) rather than provide a true smart system.

      • farmgeek says:

        Yes, sadly our deregulated electricity retailers have little motivation to enable a useful national network of informed consumers. All we get are meters just smart enough to enable laying off the meter readers.
        Further, even though it would cost the retailers practically nothing to implement, some of the really useful real time info consumers might get access to (proven to lower use) isn’t enabled because retailers aren’t exactly rewarded for empowering lower electricity use.
        This is one of the consequences of deregulation coming back to bite us.

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