Government’s 100% renewable energy target would be very expensive

This shouldn’t be a surprise, but an Interim Climate Change Committee report due out on 30 April is expected to point out that getting to 100% renewable energy could be very expensive – and i think the estimate of boosting power prices by up to 39% could be conservative.

New Zealand currently has about 80% renewable electrical energy.

From the Labour-Green confidence and supply agreement:

3. Request the Climate Commission to plan the transition to 100% renewable electricity by 2035 (which includes geothermal) in a normal hydrological year

Green naivety has always been questioned on energy policies.

RNZ:  Government’s energy policy could drive electricity prices up 39 percent

A government body is poised to announce that a core of the country’s energy policy will be prohibitively expensive to implement.

The Interim Climate Change Committee (ICCC) will make this announcement on 30 April.

But a preview of the announcement was presented to a conference on agriculture and the environment in Palmerston North last week.

It showed one aspect of government policy would push electricity prices by 39 percent for hardly any environmental gain.

At stake is a plan to transition to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2035.

This was agreed in the confidence and supply agreement between the Labour Party and the Greens after the 2017 election.

But the chairperson of the ICCC, David Prentice, told the Palmerston North conference the cost of the final stages of that proposal would be exorbitant.

“(Prices would rise) 14 percent for residential electricity, 29 percent for commercial, and 39 percent for industrial electricity.

“The emissions abatement cost of getting the last one percent of renewable electricity is prohibitively expensive … at a cost of over $1200 per tonne of Co2 or equivalent.”

He said the reason for pushing up electricity prices would be the cost of what he called the “overbuild” – a the need to have far more power stations available for a crisis.

Electricity experts have long produced several scenarios to illustrate this. One would be a need for wind turbines in remote corners of New Zealand, straining to catch the lightest of breezes. Alternatively, it could be solar panels residential roofs.

I wonder if this report could have been leaked in advance of the report to soften the impact of reality.

Of course availability of effective cheap alternative energy could change all of this, if nit eventuates.