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Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Power cut risk recedes

Despite warnings of power cuts to Wairarapa and across the country, conservation efforts meant the electricity remained on yesterday morning.

Transpower issued a warning notice on Thursday that New Zealand faced a “potential shortfall of electricity supply … because of an unseasonal cold snap and low wind generation”.

The country’s grid operator asked citizens to be “mindful” of their electricity use and major industrial electricity consumers to reduce consumption on May 10 between 7am and 9am to “ensure there was power available for all.”

Although Transpower was unable to provide a detailed analysis of Wairarapa power usage on Friday, it said that there was a nationwide reduction of 260MW of power – comparable to the “typical electricity use of Hamilton City”.

On Friday morning, MetService recorded that Masterton temperatures plummeted to -3.4 degrees, the fourth-lowest temperature nationwide.

Transpower chief executive Alison Andrew said the weather was “colder than expected,” which meant the response “was essential to ensure that all New Zealanders had continuous access to power”, and commended “the actions of thousands, along with major industrial electricity users and generators … who avoided a grid emergency and the risk of power cuts”.

“The response is now over, and there is no reason to expect any further need to conserve electricity today or this weekend.”

Given there have been some “fresh Wairarapa mornings” this week, Wairarapa MP Mike Butterick said it was good to have advanced warning from Transpower about potential issues.

“But it is disappointing that New Zealand’s homes and businesses don’t have a reliable source of energy,” he said.

“If the previous government had been serious about moving New Zealanders to an affordable, low-emissions future, they would have encouraged more generation to enable greater electrification.

“Now we’re collectively facing the consequences with reduced energy security and high prices.

“The coalition government will be changing policy settings to make it easier and quicker to bring more renewable electricity generation online.

“This will be done by changing resource management laws that are holding back development.”

Wairarapa-based Labour list MP Kieran McAnulty said the situation was “concerning” and that electricity supply had clearly been tight “for some time”.

“After the Hamilton blackout in August 2021, Labour made sure we had proactive measures in place to ensure the security of supply throughout the winters.

“Last winter, we worked with Solar Zero and Ara Ake to enable 30MW of additional network capacity on demand to help deal with winter 2023.

He said blaming the ban on offshore oil and gas exploration for the warning notice – as Energy Minister Simeon Brown had done –“doesn’t stack up”.

“Instead of trying to manufacture justification for reversing the ban on new oil and gas permits, the minister] should instead be getting advice on how to deal with winter 2024.

“I’d be interested in what proactive measures he is taking to make sure we continue to move to renewable energy and make sure the lights don’t go out in future.”

The Times-Age asked Wairarapa-based Green Party list MP Celia Wade-Brown for comment on the issue, but she deferred to Greens energy spokesperson Scott Willis

“Successive governments have managed our energy system into a state of decline that is not fit to combat the climate challenges of the current century,” he said.

“Renewable energy, such as solar and wind, coupled with a smarter, more flexible, and efficient energy network would offer us a real opportunity to build the sustainable economy required to meet the challenges of climate change.”

MetService has forecast that Masterton will reach a low of two degrees Celsius both tomorrow and Monday.

1 COMMENT

  1. Love the leftist statements ?? Climate change green house gasses the list goes on and on. Energy ideas 💡 solar power only works daylight hours? Wind turbines only works if there is wind ? EV VEHICLES very limited use and needs power? History will remember these crazy ideas. Reality? Hydropower 24/7 coal power 24/7 gas power turbines 24/7 and it was going to happen here before gas was found NUCLEAR POWER AND STILL COULD HAPPEN 24/7 .

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