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Power From the People


The Eastland Group’s buying up other power generators (Power to the People, June 3) seems to make sense in pure financial terms, although of course finance is never pure. Business jargon continues to grate in its illiteracy: they always call geothermal power “renewable”, which it is not. It is, however, clean — a far more accurate word, but “renewable” is trendy. The Kawerau reservoir cannot be “sustainably managed”, as it has a limited life. Some estimate of its capacity and future would make for better reporting.

“Making a growing contribution to a low-carbon, sustainable future for Tairawhiti and New Zealand” is a grandiose goal, but buying an existing facility from someone else doesn’t make a difference nationally.

And locally, the best thing an asset-rich organisation could do would be to encourage solar panels, in which this region and the whole country are sadly lacking. Reasons: electricity retailers failing to give a good price for energy from house roofs to the grid, and cowardly governments for years failing to control them.

A wealthy organisation like Eastland Group, if it were benign and concerned for The People, could do this on a local level by becoming an electricity retailer and buying solar power from houses during the day to supply local industry. Unlike the competitive retailers, which are really just invoicing agencies, not energy managers, it would not be at odds with the lines company, which is not trying to sell more and more and make problems at peak times.

Another example of illiteracy from this morning’s radio news: house prices have “cooled” slightly in the last few months, increasing by only 8 percent. Sorry, increasing is not cooling: it’s just warming more slowly.

Gavin Maclean

  1. Will Dobbie says:

    “. . . buying solar power from houses during the day to supply local industry.”
    Gavin, do you have an idea how complex it is to synchronise the A.C. wave pattern of megawatt wind generators to the national grid…….? Let alone the wave patterns of a few kilowatts each of the output of home solar panel inverters?
    Until that issue is resolved at reasonable price, the rest of us consumers would not want to do the massive cross-subsidy to favour the few solar panel producers you talk about.
    Cheers, W