The costs that Greenpeace didn’t bother to calculate

February 12th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

I blogged yesterday about the report that claimed all these economic benefits of New Zealand becoming 100% renewable and carbon free , and somehow was taken seriously despite not even calculating the costs of what they propose.

Someone said that there is no need for them to calculate the costs as they are environmental organisation, not an economic organisation. Now that would be true if their report was solely about the environmental benefits of implementing their policies. But this report is all about the economic benefits of their proposed policies. And to ignore costs when talking economic policies is just nuts. It’s like doing a report on the health system and ignoring the mortality rate.

Peter McCaffrey facebooked a good analogy:

In other news, my highly technical report which I’ve commissioned tells me that if the government provided every single New Zealander with their own personal satellite we could have the best Internet access in the world.

I have made a deliberate choice not to research the costs of such a program because the aim of the report is to spark a discussion rather than getting too bogged down in the numbers.

I’d like my own satellite and using Greenpeace logic it would be great for the if we all had own own satellites. Think of all the jobs it would create.

Now personally I am a fan of renewable energy and think it is a major part of our future. In fact it is a major part of our present also. But there is a difference between direction and absolutism. Now we do have some ideas of what the costs of the policies proposed might be, from the Greens’ own website:

Nikki Kaye: What advice has the Minister received on the statement by those who are promoting a 40 percent reduction in emissions by 2020 that a 100 percent renewable electricity supply is easily achievable by 2020?

Hon Dr NICK SMITH: I am advised that that would require, first, the writing-off of $4.5 billion of thermal generation assets. It would also require $11 billion for the replacement capacity of 2,500 megawatts, and $2 billion for additional renewable peaking stations needed to ensure security of supply in a dry year. This amounts to a total capital cost of $17.5 billion, excluding the additional transmission investment that would be required, and this would amount to a 30 percent increase in the power price for all consumers. Going 100 percent renewable would also require the equivalent of another seven Clyde Dams to be built by 2020. I do not describe $17.5 billion, a 30 percent power price increase, and seven Clyde Dams as being easy.

So just this aspect would cost $17.5 billion, increase power prices by 30% and require seven new Clyde Dams in the next seven years!

That will require those printing presses to really be working overtime.

 

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25 Responses to “The costs that Greenpeace didn’t bother to calculate”

  1. RightNow (6,638 comments) says:

    More hydro generation good. The rest of it not.

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  2. Lance (2,439 comments) says:

    The Greens should start with 100% renewable energy on their own houses, electric cars etc.

    I bet most don’t.

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  3. kowtow (7,580 comments) says:

    Rachel S on TV3 gave a Greenpeace myth merchant a very easy time on this, this AM.

    No hard questions,lots of smiles and bobbing blond head,what a waste of time.

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  4. Ancient Dan (39 comments) says:

    The Green religion is the road to economic perdition

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  5. krazykiwi (9,189 comments) says:

    After is disgraceful lies and about-face in respect of the Emissions Trading Scheme, I don’t believe anything Smith says. Remove the forked tongue and those numbers could be a fraction of what he hissed.

    While much of the world is still dictated to by the Green ludites, NZ should instead focus on creating an economy where we have access to abundant energy at low cost. I don’t know the ROI or ROIC figures for hydro, but that would seem to be a good option, and would fracking, shale gas etc.

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  6. Manolo (13,303 comments) says:

    Eternal shame on the Luddites and their puppet organisations, such as Greenpeace, Forest & Bird, etc.
    The problem is with the fact that the lies they spread are not challenged since the media give them a pass.

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  7. Ross12 (1,143 comments) says:

    When Greenpeace went to the High Court to regain its charitable status , I believe they said they would sticking to
    environmental advocacy and not getting involved in politics ( or words similar to this). This report is as DPF states is very much about economics ,so it is political. At best it is borderline between advocacy and outright lobbying.

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  8. bhudson (4,734 comments) says:

    That will require those printing presses to really be working overtime.

    But. But. But just think of the multiplier factor of all that printed money!!

    Living the Keynesian dream… This is quite old and has circulated quite a bit (I like how this has an equally true and amusing alternative view on how the story would unfold) but is worth retelling given that Russel Norman refuses to step back from the insanity of printing money

    How the European bailout really works

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  9. Harriet (4,495 comments) says:

    “…..The Greens should start with 100% renewable energy on their own houses, electric cars etc….”

    They should start with their chairs! :cool:

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  10. MT_Tinman (2,983 comments) says:

    Fantastic stuff, particularly when you consider leading the protests against the creation of the new dams (or the nuclear facilities that would make as much sense) would be the same luddites who are promoting the 100% renewable by 2020 foolishness.

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  11. berend (1,630 comments) says:

    Isn’t Green Peace against dams too?

    When was the last time we built a dam actually?

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  12. Australis (99 comments) says:

    “personally I am a fan of renewable energy”

    Why is that, DPF? Why are you not a personal fan of the most affordable secure supply of energy available from time to time?

    Renewable energy has exacted a terrible toll on the lives of millions who cook with charcoal and dung – and further millions whose poverty has been seriously exacerbated by the use of food for motor fuel. The current major (by a factor of 10) global renewable source comes from burning trees, and many hydro dams have caused substantial eco damage. Solar and wind are expensive, have huge footprints and are intermittent.

    So why favour renewable over non-renewable? Is it because you believe the “peak oil” fantasy?

    [DPF: I think utilising renewable sources is sensible and better for the environment. However I am not an absolutist. The cost need to be comparable to non-renewable]

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  13. RRM (9,414 comments) says:

    You can’t build dams – people’s rights to go kayaking and salmon fishing are far too important.

    You can’t build wind turbines – people’s right to see bare grassy sheep country on the horizon is too important.

    Some overlap between nimbys and environmentalists does occur (cf. David Bellamy et al…)

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  14. Harriet (4,495 comments) says:

    bhudson#

    That link was good.

    Here’s Ray Stephens singing about how O’bama bails the Americans out-

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  15. alwyn (380 comments) says:

    @RRM at 11.35am

    I’m afraid you have got the line about wind turbines wrong. Either that or add another one.

    You can’t see grassy sheep country on the horizon because having weed infested, otherwise unused DOC land in Central Otago is too important.

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  16. lazza (358 comments) says:

    We have had, (in addition to energy/housing woolly thinking) over the years … 2000 to 2010 approx … suffered under an attitude of our Councils typified as … “Cost? What cost … Who Cares” … an imprudent stance, most evident in the Council-purposes-budgets of the “Four Well beings” objectives. Another (Council) example of the Greens/Labour view of the world? common to their uncosted energy-housing flights of fancy.

    The largely ignored economic impact of environmental, social and cultural objectives has had “a good run” … the cost of which has been levels of unsustainable Council debt and unaffordable Council services.

    Now! … the new LG Act’s “cost-effectiveness” objective replaces the 4 well beings … and about time. An ageing poulation alone justifies a long overdue focus on economics-costs.

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  17. Harriet (4,495 comments) says:

    “….many hydro dams have caused substantial eco damage….”

    Fucken Crap!

    What animals were wiped out, nearly wiped out, or killed in their 10′s, 100′s, 1000′s when all the hydro dams were built in the South Island?…….Fucken none!

    Why are postcards of the hydrolakes in the South Island the biggest selling postcards in NZ?

    Why do tourists take photos of the lakes?

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  18. RRM (9,414 comments) says:
    “….many hydro dams have caused substantial eco damage….”

    Fucken Crap!

    Well, no… it’s not “fucken crap”…. you can’t dam a river without obstructing the migrations of all sorts of acquatic species, and that would fit most definitions of “eco damage.”

    So it would be a lot more sensible to discuss whether that is REALLY a problem worth worrying about, rather than trading meaningless BS slogans “ZOMFG dams cause ECO DAMAGE!!!” versus “Oh no they don’t that’s FUCKEN CRAP!” etc.

    PS: :cool:

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  19. Lance (2,439 comments) says:

    @Harriet
    I heard a talkback discussion (I know, I should expect nothing but drivel…. however) about tankers collecting the extremely pure water that exits from the Manapouri power station tailrace tunnel.
    The unanimous verdict was the tankers would spoil the scenery at Manapouri.

    Of course not a single one of those fools bothered to find out there is fucken great mountain between Manapouri and Deep Cove.

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  20. Raphael (73 comments) says:

    bhudson: “But. But. But just think of the multiplier factor of all that printed money!!”

    I was just thinking about that….aren’t our banknotes made out of plastic…..which is made from oil……

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  21. Phil (125 comments) says:

    “….many hydro dams have caused substantial eco damage….”
    Fucken Crap!
    Well, no… it’s not “fucken crap”…. you can’t dam a river without obstructing the migrations of all sorts of acquatic species, and that would fit most definitions of “eco damage.”

    For example; the Three Gorges Dam project in China required the relocation of nearly 1.3 million Chinese citizens.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Gorges_Dam

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  22. GPT1 (2,086 comments) says:

    That’s cheaper than I thought I have to say. But don’t hippies hate hydro as well?
    By cheaper I mean less rediculously expensive

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  23. Steve (North Shore) (4,489 comments) says:

    I just thought of something.

    How do the Greenies bump start an Electric Car?

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  24. Griff (6,693 comments) says:

    Hydro and geo thermal should be the first thing that springs to mind when you talk of green renewable energy
    We should target the RMA to ease the costs and risk of obtaining consents for micro generation .
    Gone are the days of the big projects
    There are lots of opportunity for green generation on a small scale that the cost of consents stifles.

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  25. Australis (99 comments) says:

    DPF: “I think utilising renewable sources is sensible and better for the environment”.

    But this is demonstrably untrue.

    Burning wood is probably the most environmentally-unfriendly source used anywhere. Hydro dams often wreak massive damage. Using food for fuel leads to increased starvation and slash-and-burn alternatives. Intermittent fuel sources solve nothing and need non-renewable fuels for back-up.

    What source/authority has convinced you that renewable fuels are benign? What is the argument? Perhaps “renewable” is just a nice-sounding word?

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