Why the government should be working on a hydrogen strategy

Point  of  Order    a  week  ago  was  serving  up  some  commentary on   the  news   that  the  Tiwai Point  aluminium  smelter  will not  shut  down in  2024 — and  could  have  a  long-term   future.

The  question now is whether Meridian Energy, which supplies  the  bulk of Tiwai Point’s   electricity  from the  big  Manapouri   station,  will   be   willing  to  do  so  without  a    price  hike.  The  last  price  negotiation  was  difficult,  with Rio  Tinto  using  the  threat of  closure  to  screw  the  price  down.

When   Rio  Tinto  some  months  ago  was signalling  it  might  keep  the  smelter  open  beyond the  term of the  current contract,  there  was a  cool  response  from Meridian.

Chief executive Neal Barclay  has  been  quoted as  saying the company would no longer give the smelter rock-bottom prices, once the current contract expired, even if it wanted to stay open.

Fair  enough.

It’s  an  issue  which  should  be engaging  the  government,  because  not  only  does  the  government  own 51%  of  Meridian,  it  should  also be  developing   a  hydrogen  strategy. Continue reading “Why the government should be working on a hydrogen strategy”

Price of power looks likely to become an issue, now that the Tiwai Point smelter wants to keep operating

A  shot  in  the  arm  for  the  province of  Southland   came  this  week  with  the  news  that  the  Tiwai Point  aluminium  smelter  will not  shut  down in  2024 — and  could  have  a  long  term   future.

Since the  global  giant Rio Tinto  renegotiated the  last  electricity  contract, extending  the  life  of the  smelter for  three  years  from 2021, the  price  of aluminium soared as high  as  $US3800  a  tonne, and  although  it   has  retreated  from those  levels,  it is  still  high  at  around $US2400.

And  because the aluminium produced  at  Tiwai  Point  is  among the purest  in the  world, it is  not surprising   that Rio Tinto, and its Japanese partner, Sumitomo,  want  to  continue  production.

The  question now is whether Meridian Energy, which supplies  the  bulk of Tiwai Point’s   electricity  from the  big  Manapouri   station,  will   be   willing  to  do  so  without  a  significant  price  hike.  The  last  price  negotiation  was  difficult,  with  Rio  Tinto  using  the  threat of  closure  to  screw  the  price  down. Continue reading “Price of power looks likely to become an issue, now that the Tiwai Point smelter wants to keep operating”

Climate-change activists (when they go back to school) could study why there is good news for energy companies

As NZ schoolchildren  gear   up  for a   ‘strike’   against  the  approaching  apocalypse  precipitated  by  global  warming,  there is  (slightly)  more comforting  news  (though  not  perhaps to the children) from an outfit   familiar with NZ weather  patterns.

Meridian  Energy  reports  that  it  has  seen  no significant  change to  catchment inflows over the last 100 years.  There has been some  seasonal  shift in inflows , with drier   autumns and wetter  summers.  It  notes snowpack  and glaciers  are getting smaller.

Meridian,  NZ’s  largest  electricity generator,  reports it is  projected  to get wetter in its   catchments, including in  winter, with bigger  individual  rainstorms.  But it  will be drier in  irrigation areas.

And  warmer  everywhere.

But is this bad  news  for  a  company  that sells  electricity? Continue reading “Climate-change activists (when they go back to school) could study why there is good news for energy companies”

The Trough Monitor: Megan Woods finds more than $11m for dispensing energy favours

Whether congratulations are in order is a moot point, but today a Minister of the Crown triggered the Point of Order  Trough Monitor for the first time this year.

The Minister was Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods, who not only has tapped into several million dollars of taxpayers’ money – she has also brayed about it:

Low emission transport will receive a record boost totalling more than $11 million, Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods announced today.

Continue reading “The Trough Monitor: Megan Woods finds more than $11m for dispensing energy favours”