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Thread: why are power prices so high?

  1. #41
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    I find in NZ there's a lack of education in the term of nuclear power. Compared to overseas that use nuclear power, NZ would be somewhat anti-nuke though there are no laws in NZ that prohibit the use of nuclear power generation. The anti-nuke law is against nuclear powered ships coming to NZ or nuclear weapons.

    As for the discussion about privatization of the electricity production in NZ - well it's going to happen under the current re-elected gov't. Not a full privatization but a partial one (up to 49%). What I don't understand is how will the average NZ citizen benefit from this move? I don't buy the argument that it will widen the NZ investment area (instead of most kiwis putting their wealth into rental properties) because it's only the rich that will have the $ to invest into privatised power generation + overseas investors.

  2. #42
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    I am very happy about the fact that NZ is ant- nuclear, I have to say!

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Super_BQ View Post
    I find in NZ there's a lack of education in the term of nuclear power. Compared to overseas that use nuclear power, NZ would be somewhat anti-nuke...
    which is good and which is one of the reasons I enjoy living here!
    Too long I have lived in the vicinity of nuclear power pants (plural!). Tiny little problem still is where to store their waste? (Not here in NZ of course, there are some natural hazards!)
    There is a reason that one of the world's leading economies is closing down its nuclear plants - Germany.

    I take it you haven't lived in Europe when Chernobyl happened. It was very, very frighting back then, especially having a little baby!

  4. #44
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    my pants are nuclear powered sometimes!

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoria24 View Post
    my pants are nuclear powered sometimes!
    not funny - considering recent events!

  6. #46
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    The real question is what kind of nuclear disaster NZ could suffer if nuclear power generation were allowed? Keep in mind that the size of the nuclear reactor for NZ's population would be quite small. How often do nuclear power ships have nuclear melt downs at port in sea (if say one to dock on the shores of NZ?) Japan and Chernobyl were major disasters. Would such power generation be required in NZ?

    Everyone talks about the waste of nuclear being the main problem, especially in NZ. Yet innovators like Bill Gates shows nothing but optimism in re-using the nuclear fuel waste as shown in this TED video: (if you don't want to watch the whole presentation, skip to minute 14 where he talks about terapower and how it can re-use existing nuclear waste)

    http://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates.html

    To live in a day of feer from such an event isn't worth living at all. You can get cancer from the use of your granite benchtop in your kitchen. You can get cancer from massive cellphone use. Whereas obvious health risks such as smoking and obesity continue to kill but that kind of feer hasn't stopped people from smoking or getting overweight.
    Last edited by Super_BQ; 9th December 2011 at 11:12 PM.

  7. #47
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    Although we are nuclear power and weapons free - radioactive materials are quite widely used here, so we're not totally free of the dangers.

  8. #48
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    Nuclear would be unnecessary in NZ. Over 50% of generated electricity (9200 MW max) is NZ is hydro electric 5200 MW and an extra 700 MW of geothermal are by far cheaper than nuclear. With NZ peak sitting around 6900 MW it would be pointless in condsidering a nuclear plant. You would need to shut down hydro electric to use nuclear to prevent it from poisoning out and typically requires 48 hrs before a unit can be brought online. Let alone all of the natural disasters. My best guess as to why prices are more then other country's is the nature of the transmission system. Long stringy lines with only 4 to 5 major load centers (a lot of power correction via capacitors, inductors to ensure stable voltages, prevents system collapses)

    Second prices are set by the generators, not the state. It's traded 24/7/365

    Ie I can generate 200 MW but I'm going to sell it for 300 per MW. If the country requires my 200 MW then everyone providing generation will recieve 300 per MW.

    Back to hydro being the cheapest and first priority in which generation to choose I can guarantee it will cost far more to bring a nuke online only to provide during a peak demand.

    Just my 2 cents
    Last edited by KevfromOntario; 10th December 2011 at 10:09 AM.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevfromOntario View Post
    My best guess as to why prices [in NZ] are more then other country's...
    and cheaper than again other countries; e.g. in Germany it is overall around 0.22/kWh given an exchange rate of around 0.57 that would be nearly twice as much as here!

  10. #50
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    Risk should not be calculated only on the likelihood of something going wrong but also the magnitude of the consequences when something does go wrong. Having travelled to japan since the disaster I can tell you that the consequences are (and will be) far worse than generally reported in the news. Japan has traditionally had a pretty tight control over 'bad news', combined with a cultural tendency to downplay and accept misfortune. Given the immense economic power of the Japan, I don't believe that NZ would be able to cope with a similar event. In other words, it seems to me that nuclear power should be a last resort for NZ, not something to be embarked upon lightly.

    Factors which are generally not included in nuclear power prices is the cost of decommissioning (given a life span of a few decades at most) and the cost of waste handling and storage (because much of nuclear waste is not 'disposed of' in the conventional sense due to its long half-life). This is not to mention the huge sums sunk into research in the past at the cost of the European, American and Russian public. NZ would still have to pay towards this in the form of acquiring the technology and expertise. So, the price at the point of supply might be competetive, but there are a lot of hidden costs which must still be borne.

    I agree that the cost of power, like many other things, in NZ is likely to be far more influenced by the logistics of a relatively thinly-spread population (both within NZ and in relation to the rest of the world). One problem with conventional large-scape power plants is that they were developed for a dense urbanised population model. NZ might be better served by smaller local generation, but that does not appeal to investors and the technology is obviously not as advanced.

    I don't want to come across as anti-nuclear, because I am firmly seated in the camp of science rather than emotion when it comes to environmental issues. It is just that, on the balance of the information available to me at the moment, I do not believe nuclear power to be a sustainable option for NZ.

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