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BRYAN LEYLAND: Net Zero nonsense

Net Zero electricity by 2030 using wind and solar power is an impossible dream: the resources needed to carry it out don't exist. (“Net Zero” means that we do not burn gas and coal for electricity generation except, maybe, in dry years.)


The excellent report by the Interim Committee on Climate Change said that we would need fossil fuels for the foreseeable future to keep the lights on during windless nights and during dry hydro years. This report was shelved by the Government and superseded by a report that had minimal input from experienced power system engineers.


There is strong opposition to new large-scale hydropower and geothermal is limited to about 1000MW (and also emits CO2). So only wind and solar power can be considered. Unfortunately, the wind doesn't blow all the time and the sun goes down every night, so wind and solar power need long-term, large scale, low cost energy storage.


We need at least 4000 MW of unpredictable and intermittent wind and solar power by 2030 to meet load growth and replace the energy generated by 2000 MW of coal and gas fired generation. I have calculated that by then we will need something like 2000 MW of storage to store surplus energy from wet years and deliver it in dry years, and store surplus solar power from the summertime for use on winter evenings. Without it, high prices, shortages and blackouts are inevitable. It will be even worse in a dry hydro year.


There is no suitable storage technology available now or even on the horizon.


The Onslow pumped storage scheme cannot do the job because it won't be ready for 10 or 15 years and, anyway, it is not designed to be able to respond to unpredictable wind and solar power. To do that, it would need a very large lower pond and it does not have one. Anyway, it is impossibly expensive.


There can be no doubt that “net zero electricity by 2030” will crash and burn. Sooner or later, it will have to be abandoned.


So where does this leave the BlackRock proposal? BlackRock must know that an all renewable electricity system by 2030 is an impossible dream. I suspect that they are using New Zealand to add credibility to a corporate virtue-signalling exercise.


So what are the options for reducing emissions from electricity generation?


Top priority is to explore for more gas so we can keep the lights on in the short term and burn less coal. There is no other way of keeping the lights on at an acceptable price.


We could develop more hydropower on the Clutha and Waitaki Rivers and on the West Coast. This is certain to be strongly opposed by environmental groups. Moreover, it wouldn't be ready in time.


We could develop more geothermal power but the resource is limited.


Nuclear power is certainly an excellent option but the Small Modular Reactors that we need won’t be ready by 2030. Anyway, it will it take years for the decision-makers and the public to accept that modern nuclear power stations are the safest form of major power generation in existence and safely storing nuclear waste is not a particularly difficult problem.


But there is an option: accept the latest information from the IPCC technical reports that tells us that RCP 8.5 (which is an extreme emissions scenario for input into climate models) is now known to be highly unlikely and should be replaced by a more realistic scenario. If New Zealand followed suit, current predictions of future rapid sea level rise and a rapid rise in temperatures would be replaced by scenarios that can be managed by adaptation. The IPCC also says that the climate effects of methane have been overestimated by a factor of four. If this was accepted, farm emissions would no longer be a problem.


This leads us to a commonsense option: review man-made climate change! All the research that my friends and I have done demonstrates quite clearly that there is no scientific evidence based on real world data that supports the hypothesis that man-made greenhouse gases cause dangerous global warming. None! The Climate Commission, the Royal Society of New Zealand and the IPCC all told us that they have faith in the climate models (never mind that they have never made an accurate prediction) and they rely on the "consensus of climate scientists". Consensus has no place in science because it simply amounts to "We all say so, it must be true!” No one has been able to disprove the hypothesis that the climate changes naturally and man-made global warming plays only a small part.


Which leads to the obvious solution: abandon net zero, abandon the emissions trading scheme, stop subsidising electric cars, forget about agricultural greenhouse gases and rejoice that the increasing levels of carbon dioxide are making our plants grow better and making us all more prosperous.


Bryan Leyland MSc, DistFEngNZ, FIMechE, FIEE(rtd) is a power systems engineer with worldwide experience. He has been a climate sceptic for the last 25 years.

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128 Comments


Rusling Mcgehan
Rusling Mcgehan
Aug 16, 2023

The climate nonsense MIGHT prove to kill us but the plans and massive costs involved to deal with it will DEFINATELY kill us. Blackrock looks after taking our infrastucture, their partner in crime, the WHO looks after knocking us off.

BTW: what happened in Lahaina and why are the police arresting witnesses, say no more.

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justise xtra
justise xtra
Aug 15, 2023

Neither does that BS Blackrock speech they gave. Labour needs to just do the right thing and stop playing with the Taxpayers money by having an election that is going to cost money when they could just give it to National without any more unnecessary Grandstanding.

It's the same as Department of Internal Affairs after spending lots of money on getting my families identities that were all changed and having Real Login only to find out that anyone can use their govt.nz and gather their Geneaologies. When asked why? they gave an answer as if it is hard to get people's real identities well i've been done and Census can give you that and also LINZ. Apparently according to D.I.A…

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My work involves me in a lot of load management, working with medium to large facilities such as hotels, schools, factories, supermarkets and tertiary institutions. I can tell you that during peak demand periods a very large number of diesel generators kick in around the country to power these sites and relieve load on the grid, which simply couldn't cope otherwise. In many cases the generators feed their excess capacity back to the grid. I don't know what percentage of total power generation all these generators would comprise, but typically they range in size from 0.5 to 2 megawatts. Add them all up and there will be many hundreds of megawatts, stacked against peak demand that I understand to be…

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winder44
winder44
Aug 15, 2023
Replying to

I hate to say it. Petrochemical sites, Methanol plants, etc. (have been involved with) The greenies won't want to know me now, but I have in later years set up a number of Remote Area Power Systems using solar panels, wind powered generators, and micro hydro units. Sticking to 24 volts for battery bank charging and through an inverter/charger to 230 volts for domestic appliances. Always including a 230volt petrol or diesel generator ( 6-10kva) for back up battery charging, and for any high load equipment. The last one I installed cost the owner $23k, all up, completely off-grid. The power supplier wanted charge $60k + just to run 230v from their closest transmission line, plus the cost of a…

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Just another scam by the international gangsters to generate new pillaging revenue flows for their numerous entities and via needless taxes.


Why isn't anyone talking about Zero Point Energy? Nikolai Tesla had this sussed early 1900s. It was shelved by JP Morgan, JD Rockefeller et. al. because...it was free infinite FREE Energy.

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zekewulfe
zekewulfe
Aug 14, 2023
Replying to

Zero point energy ?.

The discrepancy between theorized and observed vacuum energy in the universe, is still a source of major contention among physicists. Let alone any quantum reality.


We are discussing reality in the here and now and whether our leaders (Incumbent or intending) have a difficulty in ascertaining the obvious vacuum that exists between their ears.

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harveyandsara
harveyandsara
Aug 14, 2023

Every hour of every day ,the sun sends us enough electricity to (at our current rate of useage) to last us 176 000 yrs but we don't use a single drop of it as we do not know how to access it . Incredibly we manufacture it in many different ways using more energy than we produce as electricity. Around the world there are 1000s of people trying to Crack the riddle. When that happens it will be the end of every generator manufacturer, every electricity producer, every national grid and every electricity retailer. Oh dear ,I see a problem with this .Blackrock would not be pleased and like JP Morgan said all those yrs ago . Where…

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Colin Hunt
Colin Hunt
Aug 16, 2023
Replying to

Your issue is that there is no practical way to harness the vast majority of that energy. And doing so via solar panels is massively expensive, unreliable and creates large amounts of waste materials. It is also dependent on large quantities of slave labour.

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