Does it take power cuts for it to be a crisis?

The NZ Herald editorial accuses National of trying to contrive an energy crisis, and says there is little chance of blackouts so there is no crisis.

That is certainly one view – so long as the lights stay on, there is no crisis. But I would say the following
suggest otherwise:

  • A $2.5 million conservation campaign
  • The lowest lake levels since 1992
  • The highest spot prices ever
  • Thermal power running full bore (meaning more money paid to the Russians under Kyoto)
  • Having to operate a moth balled asbestos ridden plant that is so dangerous workers have to wear protection suits to run it
  • Consideration of special legislation to allow lake levels to fall further

UPDATE: The Press editorial takes a different line:

Crisis? What crisis? This is the stock response of any government in denial, which is precisely the mode that the present Labour-led administration is in over looming electricity shortages, with its strained and unconvincing rhetoric about the gravity of the situation, writes The Press in an editorial. …

Even if the lights do stay on in the coming months, there is no room for complacency. A political and industry priority must be to ensure that the regulatory framework is conducive to creating new electricity generation and that the impact of competing demands for water, especially in the South Island, and the effects of climate change are fully considered.

Indeed we need to make it easier and quicker to create new generation – especially for renewable sources.

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