New Government addressing environmental challenges
International Community addressing a just energy transition
Fig: Brunt Ice Shelf – view the images from NASA here.
In Antarctica, the Brunt Ice Shelf which is bigger than New York City, is showing major cracks and is likely to break off soon. This follows a report which found that Antarctica is losing six times more ice mass annually now than 40 years ago. The study used updated drainage inventory, ice thickness and ice velocity data for 176 basins draining the Antarctic Ice Sheet from 1979 to 2017.
New Zealand Businesses caring about environment
- Ports of Auckland is automating and decarbonising their container straddlers, introducing an electric tug boat (the first in the world), reducing their energy use/ increasing energy efficiencies and working on green shore power for the 100+ annual cruise ships, hydrogen for powering their moving assets.
- The big power generators Meridian/ Mercury/ Vector/ Genesis are pushing ahead with their move toward sustainability.
- The Wellington Brooklyn Wind Farm is the most productive and non-subsidized on-shore wind farm on the planet.
- Our Hydro (5,000 MW) and Geothermal capability (854 MW) in BOP, Taupo, Ngwha (Northland) are world leading.
- Yealand Winery and others putting commercial solar on their roof spaces
- Hiringa Energy from Taranaki working on hydrogen production & distribution. And together with my organisation N3T and Zero Emission Vehicles on decarbonising heavy commercial fleets.
- Wellington’s East-by-West Ferry will be the first electric ferry service in NZ.
- NZ Universities offering renewable energy scholarships
New Zealand’s natural Advantages
Wairua River: The Wairua River drains the north-eastern corner of the Northern Wairoa catchment via the Hikurangi Swamp. The large swamp was drained and turned into farmland in the 1970s. Once a lake bed, the swamp is susceptible to heavy rain storms from the north-east and a restricted outlet, making flooding common. The catchment covers 750 square kilometres.
For a proper energy mix beyond geothermal, solar and wind, river and marine energy should play a bigger role. Water is about 700 times as dense as air. Therefore much smaller water flows are needed to achieve similar energy than a wind turbine. Further advantages are no intermittency like solar, wind, resulting in high predictability and energy potential. The ancient egyptians over 4,000 years ago were able to predict the tides precisely. In all that time humankind still hasn’t mastered to harness this daily occuring “free” energy, yet. Maybe Northland is the place to advance this further.
Benefits for Northlanders
Tapping into renewable, sustainable energy sources will make Northlanders independent of other NZ regions energy wise. If done well, we could develop leading edge river and marine energy solutions.
Fig: Hydrogen Vision and small hydro corkscrew energy production. It can power up to 50 households (source: EU hydro power, 2018)
Design, test and deploy river and marine energy devices in Northland. But, even more so export our leading edge hydro/ marine energy products and renewable energy expertise globally. This will result in high paying jobs and a general increase in health care, educational & social support and hopefully the general well being of people living in stunning Tai Tokerau.