As the Govt prepares to sell up to 49% of 3 state owned electricity gentailers, where is demand for electricity heading?

By Gareth Vaughan

As the Government, and its ticket clipping advisers, prepare to sell shares in taxpayer owned power companies, a headline screaming  'Power market in danger of death spiral' certainly jumps out at you.

Even when said headline comes from The Australian Financial Review (AFR) and is about the Australian, rather than New Zealand, electricity market, it made me wonder where demand for the key product of three of the four SOEs ear marked for sell down - electricity - is heading.

The AFR story was based on a blog by Paul Simshauser, the chief economist and group head of corporate affairs at Aussie gentailer (power generator and retailer) AGL and Tim Nelson, AGL's head of economics, policy and sustainability. Entitled The Energy Market Death Spiral - Rethinking Customer Hardship, the blog notes - among other things - that although power prices have been increasing, annual household consumption is showing signs of contracting for the first time since World War II.

"Indeed, energy consumption by NSW households has fallen by about 2.0% per annum over the past four years," Simshauser and Nelson write. "This contraction is the result of demand response to persistent tariff increases, more energy efficient appliances, housing insulation and the uptake of solar hot water and solar PV (photo voltaic) units."

Further they say electricity demand forecasts are becoming more difficult to make because of global economic uncertainty and changing household spending patterns. Simshauser and Nelson go on to say the "unspoken fear" of all utility managers is the “Death Spiral Scenario”.

"In this nightmare, a utility commits to build new equipment. However, when electric rates are raised to pay for the new plant, the rate shock moves customers to cut their KWh (kilowatt hour) use. The utility then raises its rates even higher - causing a further spiral as customers cut their use even more... In the final stages of that death spiral, the more affluent customers drastically cut purchases by implementing efficiency and on-site [solar PV] power, but the poorest customers have been unable to finance such measures..."

They go on to criticise "regulated and inflexible" electricity prices (they do work for AGL after all), advocating the introduction of smart metering technologies and peak, off-peak and critical peak pricing structures to "almost certainly" avert the onset of an energy market death spiral.

But I digress. What this made me interested in was New Zealand electricity demand as the Government prepares to sell up to 49% of Mighty River Power, Meridian Energy and Genesis Energy. Ministry of Economic Development (MED) figures show total observed electricity consumption down in three of the last four years, including a fall to 38,490 gigawatt hours in 2011 from 39,005 gigawatt hours in 2010. The MED data, dating back to 1975, records only one other annual fall, in 1992.

Ch, ch, ch changes

Granted, the recent annual falls come at a time of weak - or no - economic growth. But they also come at a time of major structural changes in the economy and consumer behaviour.

MED says consumer energy demand is projected to grow at around 1% per annum over the next decade, lower than the 1.4% pa seen from 1990. It also points out that since 1990 New Zealand's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has increased at a much faster rate than consumer energy demand.

"This is shown by a reduction of over 21% in the amount of energy it takes to produce each unit of GDP over this period. This decrease in energy intensity is a result of energy efficiency and conservation measures, aided by advances in technology, and structural changes in the economy," says MED.

"In recent years, a growing proportion of the economy has been in the less energy intensive service-based sectors. The GDP contribution by the trade, hospitality and commercial services sectors has nearly doubled since 1990, whereas the energy intensive manufacturing sector's GDP contribution has only increased by 20%. Without improvements in energy intensity, energy demand would now be much higher."

So not only are we now using things that are more energy efficient than past equivalents such as heat pumps, flat screen TVs, LED (light-emitting diodes) lighting and smart phones and tablet computers such as iPads for internet access, we're also working differently with less energy intensive manufacturing and more service based activity.

"New Zealand's energy intensity peaked at over five GJ (gigajoule) per $1,000 of GDP in the early 1990s. In 2010 New Zealand's energy intensity was less than 4GJ per $1,000 of GDP and may improve by a further 21% to around 3GJ per $1,000 of GDP by 2030," says MED. "Over this time economic growth is forecast to average 2% per annum, with growth focussed on the less energy intensive commercial sector. At the same time consumer energy demand grows at less than 1% per annum."

What does this mean for future demand?

So what does all this mean for demand for electricity, the core product peddled by Mighty River Power, Meridian and Genesis?

Independent energy analyst Molly Melhuish says aside from a fall in industrial demand, notably as less news print is produced, residential demand is also feeling the pinch because some people just can't afford it.

"I believe there is quite a lot less use of ordinary heaters than has been in the past," says Melhuish. "Domestic demand is constrained by the ability to pay."

MED data shows the energy portion of retail weighted average prices, in nominal cents per kilowatt hour, almost doubling in the 10 years to May to 27.5 cents from 14.7c. The retail lines charge rose to 10.5c from 6.6c over the same period.

Looking ahead, Melhuish doesn't expect demand to rise much.

"It will always rise with population which is about a 2% rise per year. That 2% rise is now being offset by industries generating less than they had hoped to. So the question is what will happen with industry? And that's about world markets," says Melhuish.

"I would guess, if I'm required to guess, that it will remain nearly flat, growing at between 0 and 2%. It probably won't fall."

'Household demand flat since 1974'

Power industry consultant Bryan Leyland says a review he did of electricity demand in 2003 showed demand had grown - since the 1940s - at about 800 gigawatt hours a year. And, Leyland estimates, household electricity consumption in New Zealand has stayed at 8,000 kilowatt hours per house per year since 1974. According to MED, New Zealand households spent an average of NZ$190 per month on electricity and gas last year.

"If you've got an economy that's stalled, then your load growth is going to go down to nothing or even decline just because of increasing efficiencies," says Leyland. "Both us and Australia have got a stalled economy. I think when economic growth returns, we'll probably go back to 800 gigawatts (demand growth) a year. (But) if our economy stays flat, it will probably decline because of efficiencies."

One of the reasons cited for the contraction in electricity demand in New South Wales by Simshauser and Nelson is increased use of solar PV units. On this side of the Tasman the popularity of solar PV units in tracked by the Sustainable Electricity Association of New Zealand (SEANZ). Its chairman, Brendan Winitana, says in the year to March 31, 2011, 428 solar PV systems were installed in NZ. Whilst not a huge number, this was up 170% year-on-year.

Winitana reckons solar PV systems could become "absolutely, majorly" significant, over the next five-10 years. He says prices are down 60% in last 18 months with the combined cost of the equipment and installation now ranging from NZ$3,000 to NZ$4,000 per kilowatt, with the average size of installation about 3.5 kilowatts. That's still too expensive for the average household to afford.

A home solar PV unit, a better investment than SOE shares?

But Winitana suggests if you factor in running a solar PV over its 25 year life versus the cost of buying your power off the national grid over the next 25 years, there's an argument around getting a better return by  investing in your own PV system rather than buying shares in one of the SOE gentailers. See a SEANZ report on the cost position of grid supply versus solar PV generation here. Meanwhile, a spokesman for Meridian said his company's outlook on solar is that it will likely be "cost comparative" with retail prices by the end of this decade.

Mighty River Power, Meridian and Genesis, are certainly all well aware of the potential of solar PV and are all members of SEANZ. Genesis has run its School Gen Programme, which involved the installation of solar PV systems at schools. And Meridian bought California-based solar development company Cleantech America Inc, now Meridian Energy USA, in August 2009 for US$5.4 million.

Meridian's currently the lead developer of a solar farm in Tonga. And another New Zealand company, Powersmart Solar, is the lead contractor in a project that's aiming to make Tokelau the first country in the world to have all its electricity needs met by solar power.  However, on a bigger scale in Australia, the sun's not shinning so brightly for solar power. Queensland's A$1.2 billion Solar Dawn power project recently failed to meet a deadline for financing despite promised federal government aid of A$464 million. This, as the AFR notes, adds it to a long list of major solar energy projects that have failed to get off the drawing board.

For its part Meridian isn't hinting at major solar PV farms in New Zealand, but does suggest there'll be a lot more solar panels on rooftops in the future, be they on personal homes or commercial buildings.

"It is unlikely that we will see large scale 100 MW solar PV farms here in New Zealand as you do in parts of Europe and the desert USA due to the high value we place on land for alternative (agriculture) purposes. Roof top applications seem the most likely future for New Zealand. In cities such as Auckland there is many MWs (megawatts) of potential of solar PV real estate available on large roof tops," the Meridian spokesman said.

Perhaps the gentailers will find a new line of business in renting rooftops?

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The technology behind PV solar is getting better all the time. If thin film solar can get perfected, where solar panels are printed from a roll like a newspaper, then there will be another major drop in prices which could start to have an impact on  electricity even in NZ. 

As a past co-chair of Solar Action (a non-profit organisation) I'm happy to see it coming.
Yes, PV is now cheaper than grid-power, if you buy it in yourself, or do your own work. (dodge the mark-up, in other words, which will increase to take up much of the slack, if you don't circumvent the markers-up).
The Meridian's of this world, will buy the new companies, as soon as the bigger ones identify themselves. The days of ever-more-expensive major generators is probably over (a need to sell your surplus gas may be an exception).
"In recent years, a growing proportion of the economy has been in the less energy intensive service-based sectors. The GDP contribution by the trade, hospitality and commercial services sectors has nearly doubled since 1990, whereas the energy intensive manufacturing sector's GDP contribution has only increased by 20%. Without improvements in energy intensity, energy demand would now be much higher."
One wonders how much of our GDP is virtual. I suspect that accounts for a portion of the supposed 'efficiencies'.

virtual, well currently we have gone from in excess of 300 physical servers draying 500watts odd each to 20 drawing 1kw each....450 virtual servers inside them....less power draw, less cooling more done........
At home instead of 4 or 5 servers I now run 1 workstation with 8gb and 8 virtual machines inside....

And guess what, it didn't take a government mandate to achieve ... simply amazing.

Its already available in a 3 or 4mm think roll I think....pretty sure Ive seen such tech on youtube...

Cold fusion is also making a comeback.

its never been....and very probably never will.

Have we have we have we have we have we only powerupkiwi can answers
questions of this nature. peakkkkkkkk power   save usss words of wisdom
are required where are you powerupkiwi.
One thing must be peaking Taxation

nope, bottoming....

Cold fusion is here already ive seen it myself on a domestic car, the problem is
it  by passes the grid system thats a no no.

of course you have, heavily invested in it have you?

You've clearly never seen Back to the Future 2 (or 3)

The electricity industry is slowly and painfully changing. The model of building power plants to meet peak load no longer works. The constraints of fuel cost, low carbon legislation, reluctance to approve power plants, plus adoption of electric vehicles, feed-in generation, demand response etc will put the local distribution companies in the driving seat of determining tariffs and what technology is implemented. 
The government is being canny to offload a failing business model. Bizarrely investors might well do ok, this is an industry that won't grow but will produce nice steady dividends with connivance of the MED. 
The problem for NZ lies in the lines companies. Small fragmented businesses over burdened by management, mostly owned by local government. This is the real battleground for restructuring and consolidation. 

In auzzi the well off are getting solar panels in droves so they wont need to buy power in fact they are now selling to the those stuck with the companys . Even better get an electric car since the earthquake in japan they have all now got interface to surply power so at night your just take out of your car dont even buy it from the power company night or day.

An electric car is typically 3 times the price and last 1/2 to 2/3rds as long....the difference could be put in the bank to earn interest to pay the petrol bills.

Vavau -    eh?
Where does the power come from again? Are you talking of using a hybrid vehicle as a generator?  Not very efficient.

Things to ask / claify,
"fallen by about 2.0% per annum over the past four years," doesnt mention the GFC....NZ saw the same sort of drop....petrol in the USA has also dropped, price and rising un-employment both pay a part, the Q is how much for each.
Also this strikes me as a way / excuse to price gouge more than anything...
"show total observed electricity consumption down in three of the last four years, including a fall to 38,490 gigawatt hours in 2011 from 39,005 gigawatt hours in 2010."
Does it allow for degree days? ie a mild winter would drop consumption, or a cold winter would hide the real are the numbers corrected for weather?
You also cant look at this market in you need to observe what the other energy markets are doing....fossil fuels are likely to go up in cost and even get rationed, this will cause switches to electricity and maybe even shortages there. In terms of power I think there will be growth in demand, doesnt mean share prices wont drop with a global depression, hence I sold out Contact....

double post

This is also a great site for an overview...>

Steven you would be very surprised if you new what my vehicles were running on
its not all rocket science that mortals cannot atain to.

Baz, the fossil fuel age is ending, despite all the hype on alternatives they dont make the grade.  If i knew....ho hum....its not hard to make your own fuel if that is what you is pretty easy, adequate videos on youtube for though rather hard.  At an individual's level taking say kfc oil, and filtering it and converting it can be done very cheaply as its waste. In your garage in fact very simple tech, many third world farmers are doing that for their own use.  The problem is when you want to replace a substantial part of fossil deisel with bio...then it means taking in a virgin feedstock which costs fertilizer (Natural gas based) to grow.....then the EROEI is useless......let alone the competition from ppl wanting to eat.

NZ govt will do what it always does with potentially declining growth - open the immigration floodgates and ramp up the prices some more

Someone care to factor in the impact of comalco walking out of nz.  I understand it consumes equivalent of 550,000 homes.  With aluminium demand as it is, surely just a matter of time. 

Demand and price dropping leading to cuts in production. 
Mothballing - all or partial - or closing all together would have a signifcicant impact.

I think things would have to get pretty bad for them to bail, they have such a sweet deal on electricity prices it doesn't cost them stuff all to run their heaters...

You have got to wonder about this bit...
"This is shown by a reduction of over 21% in the amount of energy it takes to produce each unit of GDP over this period. This decrease in energy intensity is a result of energy efficiency and conservation measures, aided by advances in technology, and structural changes in the economy," says MED."
Are we really getting more efficient?
Or maybe it just reflects the fact that crazy credit growth (when measured in GDP terms) has given the property and services segments of the economy an illusion of growth, when compared relative to the real tangible economy?

Just maybe the Nats have a better reason to sell the power companies than I thought; and although I actually believe any prospectus should cover this sort of risk, can understand why they have been quiet about it in wanting a good price, giving them the benefit of the doubt that reducing demand for grid electricity could be one of the main reasons for selling.
For all that, I do expect plug in cars including efficient batteries will be closer in price to petrol cars within say five years, which should put a bottom in overall demand. 
A beginner's question on solar. Clearly the generation can only happen in daylight hours. Is there a battery/ storage system that says the power generated can be used in the evening- when my household, and I would have thought most households, have their peak demand?
If not and you have to sell the power generated to the grid, at best that presumably is a wholesale price?

Stephen L - if you're grid-tied, then your battery is the hydro lakes. Its a good mating. Simple, and it already exists. Some countries back-pump water now, using wind/solar/whatever, and use the water-at-height as a short-term battery. It's inefficient, but better than no storage.
Off-grid, , you're down to batteries at home, or pumping uphill yourself (a valid approach on steeper country, not so easy in suburbia. Suburbanites of course, could get together and buy a site to dam water collectively.
Oh, that's right - they did. It's just getting ripped off of them now.......

Investing in gentailers is probably a good bet.
The subtext of this post is whether (i) we should take up the share offer and (ii) this is good economic management by the government.
The answer to that question is not about aggregate energy use but about the share of energy  portfiolio that a Mighty River can command. Look at your own household. I source electricity from one company although we have two connection points so I could split it across two companies; I buy gas for domestic cooking from one company and for my business from another; I burn wood from my property and buy fuel from other companies to power my chainsaw. I would happily install solar. It's really not about how much electricity I but from my dominant gentailer.
The grid has considerable advantages if it can exploit them. I am really pissed off and lose money if I lose power to my business but can tolerate outages at home (which is 50m away). My feeling is the gentailers can afford to lose ground in areas like domestic if they can add value (continuity of supply, business arranegments etc) to business. The underlying assumption to this assessment is that NZ is highly attractive to migrants and will continue to add to its population for the foreseeable future.

So, I take it you haven't checked the actual scientific papers, before layers of cock-up and spin were added by the Daily Fail?  You'll find it's not quite as simple as you or they make out.  A google scholar search on 'Jan Esper' will get you started.  Be sure to look at the cites as well.

Clicked through to the article - interesting read - must admit Daily Mail not first publication that springs to mind when I think about science. Looking forward to actual scientists analyzing the 'so what'.
Hugh you need a medal for reading the article all the way through at 3.00am and ignoring the scantily clad women plastered all over the page. Well done, mate.

Actually the scientist who created this study appears to have taken the effort to be offended at its missrepresentation. The real climate site is pretty good if you have an interest, and can stand their unappologetic scientific bias.

Well to start with try reading what real climate scientsists say and not clueless journalists writing about what one group have said (and thats not cast in stone either)
NB take note of that graph at the end, it shows no inflection point at the start of the industrial revolution.
Anyway, local changes such as just europe was known about/suspected, that doesnt make it global as per,
"But insolation forcing is near zero at tropical latitudes, and long-term cooling trends are not seen in non-tree ring, tropical terrestrial proxy records such as the Lake Tanganyika (tropical East Africa)"
What the dailyfailure didnt say was if the orbit had stopped moving out and reversed....that would be a bit of a kicker, so,
"German researchers used data from tree rings – a key indicator of past climate – to claim the world has been on a ‘long-term cooling trend’ for two millennia until the global warming of the twentieth century. "
Two different results and two different causes....if on the other hand we could see that the moving away had reversed....and that this was global...neither it seems is the case.
So in effect if you take out the orbital change as a constant  you should get an even higher AGW this is making agw look lesser than it is....
Then we have multi-proxy records, ie tree data is just one way to look at the past temperature record.
So really this says does prove that taking one source of information is subjecting you to the risk of a mistake...for instance this doesnt stand up to well against other studies,
"the Moberg et al (2006) reconstruction, which–unlike all of the other reconstructions listed above–uses no tree-ring proxy data at all to estimate centennial and longer-timescale temperature variations, shows the smallest cooling trend of all. That is in contrast to Esper et al’s hypothesis that including tree-ring data leads to reduced long-term cooling trends." 
oh and dont read much into the main stream media....I the evening news, shallow and hyped.....


And if the climate was warmer in the areas studied 2000 years ago, what does that prove?

Nothing in terms of AGW....but then we have deniers clutching at any straw to avoid the moral issue...

Thanks for a timely article, Gareth.  It complements a revealing news item based on a share broker report on Contact’s results in June. (, Dene Mackenzie).  This states bluntly that demand has flat-lined since 2007 – five years, not a short term blip. In addition, this was expected to continue for four or five more years, but only if no more generation is built – but Todd Energy, Contact Energy, and Mighty River Power all have new generation due on stream in the next eighteen months.
Not very good for Mum and Dad returns is it? And privatised Contact has apparently averaged 4% dividend yield since it was listed. However, it should do better for a while by paying out the funds accrued to build the recently cancelled dams on the Clutha.
Sadly ironic isn’t it?  The wholesale price structure was designed to capture excess revenue specifically to provide funds for new generation capacity. Well hello, now there is too much capacity though retail prices have never stopped rising. The price structure also has the nasty intergenerational externalities that today’s power consumers are not only paying, extortionately for generation capacity for tomorrow’s consumers, but it will be unwanted.
It is actually viciously ironic. A key reason of Roger Douglas and those clever dickie Treasury analysts for the original dismemberment of the NZED was that those pesky engineers in NZED kept overestimating demand and kept on building dams.   

to start with,
My retail prices have stopped rising for 3 years at least....and I expect that prices will rise will demand once the GFC is cleared.  Hindsight is 20/20 as they say, no one really knows where demand will you have to look at the fundimentals.
In terms of returns maybe consider that against the background of some businesses if they can will price gouge which effects other businesses and consumers overall....bad for NZ and GDP....monopilies always are.  Some things I think are best held by the Govn for the public good, the Q is making sure its effective.
NB Take a look at contacts share price for the last 3 years....glad I sold when I did.
Roger D, well from what I read Muldoon went for hydro due to rising oil prices, he may well have been 30 years early but it looks like he was NZ has a large % of renewables. The worry is, it isnt large we are exposed, however less than many other countries, japan for instance I think is screwed. '
RD was and is a fundie....and fundies never consider themselves wrong....and typical right whinger only thinks of today and his pocket....the future and others can go to hell, Which also it seems comes across from you.... Considering the debt and other issues the last two generations are leaving the youngers a marginal cost on them for some resiliance for teh future is a very minor payback.

Re Steven on 14 July 10.50 am, it seems to me that the weight of the evidence in Gareth Vaughan’s article is that demand patterns have changed for fundamental reasons and consumer resistance to profiteering. I don’t see demand bouncing back very much at any time.  
To confirm your thinking, Muldoon’s Think Big strategy was prompted by imports of transport fuels that were costing a fortune.  The take or pay contract for Maui natural gas was also proving very costly because of low offtake. The Think Big projects were firstly the Motunui Mobil gas-to-gasoline plant and a series of other projects using Maui gas in Taranaki such as methanol and urea production.  Another stream of the gas went to the Huntly power station after it was converted from coal to gas. Secondly there were millions spent researching the conversion of Southland and Central Otago lignite into transport fuels. Thirdly was an aluminium smelter to be built at Aramoana by Alusuisse and Fletchers supported by up to four more hydro dams on the Clutha. 
Just before the 1984 election Alusuisse pulled out and Mobil said they wouldn’t decide on a go ahead until after the election. This cut Think Big in half so the National Government reversed its previous reluctance and approved NZ Steel’s expansion, and reduced the multiple Clutha dam scheme to the one dam built at Clyde.  There was no market for its electricity without the smelter but it was a wonderful rural votes retention scheme. However, Muldoon was not concerned about energy or any other conservation. The Clyde dam had no immediate market and drowned the best apricot orchards in NZ, the Mobil gas to gasoline process used up 2/3 of the energy in the gas to make its vehicle fuels, and lignite conversion would have been much more wasteful than that.
Good luck for your airy statement about subsidising the future but being screwed on electricity prices based on false economics in the present affects me and many others, and it is strongly regressive

To correct mistakes in my previous post:  1981 was the Think Big election, not 1984, and there were additional energy-related projects:  electrification of the North Island main trunk railway line, (sound policy - renewable electricity for diesel import replacement), an expansion of the Marsden Point oil refinery, and a 50% expansion of the Bluff aluminium smelter. The latter was a private industry project but it relied on the expanded Clutha hydro dam capacity. Wisdumb.

Here's some hard facts about China's economy you won't read.
Bet they don't sell orf their SOE..ASSETS..

- Among China's 500 largest companies, SOEs make up 63.2% of companies, yet rake in 82.82% of revenue, 81.88% of profits, and roughly 90% of assets.

- Huawei is China's largest private company worth an estimated 185 billion RMB; China's largest company, state-owned Sinopec, is worth 1.969 trillion RMB.

- Huawei is ranked 39th among top-500 companies; along with Sinopec, state-owned PetroChina and National Grid accumulate a combined worth of roughly 5.2 trillion RMB.

- A mere five state-owned banks commands 26.13% of profits garnered by "top-500" companies.

- Some large companies still receive appointed executives from the CCP because they're really ex-SOEs.

Read more:

Hugh Pavletich you rasie a good point about tree rings I read the same article online
also but the man made climate change stuff its big business Goverment funding via
your taxes is producing bogus figures etc . In many ways the science world is more
controlled than ever its almost witchdoctory at times. Ever since the time of Tesla
Big business has taken over the power industry . There is a world wide push on
to indoctrinate people on man made climate change. The United Nations have a
hand in this its implemented at a local level via councils its called Agenda 21 .
Get as much information on this as you can .Also Hugh look into the resourse
management act what is really behind it . Note these chilling words SUSTAINABLE
DEVELOPMENT . Buy the lastest investigate magazine it has a good handle on it.
I cannot use words like Facist on this site to descibe whats happening but it doesent
mean its not going on.

Presumably you advocate unsustainable development, then.
Smart way to go.

Also Hugh look into the resourse management act what is really behind it . Note these chilling words SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
And where in the Resource Management Act are the chilling words "sustainable development"?
Or is that statement just a small hint that what you say is incorrect?

Wow, got a special on tin foil hats did we?
Sustainable development is or at least as its used is an oxymoron....mostly you cannot develope without consuming and most things consumed are one time items, hence not sustainable. So what you are seeing is fluff words to tart up lost causes...PR speak for we'll pillage whats left quietly and hope the plebs dont notice.

If it comes from Investigate magazine it's probably a) swivelly-eyed lunacy; b) completely made up; or c) they'll say it doesn't matter because they're all going to be whisked into heaven any minute now.

Kakapo Investigate Magaizne is a very good Magazine produced by Ian Wishart who
doesent suffer fools lightly. Can you please list  twenty lies and mis information that
Mr Wishart has told please.
when his book Breaking Silence [Kahui Case ] came avalible last year there was a huge effort by some
in the goverment , ex Goverment and book sellers to ban the book. However its not Germany
1930s yet so the book was sold and a very moving and informative read it is. I would take most of Mr Wisharts investigations very seriously however as they say reality is usually scoft at.

Wishhart on anthropic climate change is a good example of misinformation and lies. 

Yours is a typical contentless smear from a member of the AGW cult. Pathetic.

OMG - I repeat the unanswered question - who pays you?
Per comment?

Now wasn't it you who said "Steven, I seldom rise to OMG?" Don't deny it now.
Frankly, you're way too old to be so childish.

Why is anyone with a differing opinion to pdk accused by pdk of being paid? Seems to be a universal constant.

Lobby groups do pay individuals small sums of money to post on forums in an attempt to sway public opinion, even on small sites like this one. It is reasonable to ask someone if you suspect this is the case. A lack of response is telling.

This is aimed at me of course. The answer is no, I receive no payment whatsoever. I post as an individual.
 Now how much are you, pdk, steven, kakapo et al paid? After all Greenpeace,, NZ Greens, WWF, Friends of the Earth, etc are collectively extremely well funded. pdk and steven whose posts are in the realm of the exponential function are prime cases for payment - neither of them seem to have much money - the former scratching, from what he says, a subsistence living from a 40 acre grove in freezing Otago, the latter posting whenever he has down time from whatever job he has, 24/7.
Please elaborate.

In terms of astro turf actually its the right wing / fundie christians who hold that ground almost exclusively.....
So for the record, which Ive actually said before....I post as an individual.....Im a "reluctant'' member of the green party (so I pay them membership not the other way around) because thier social stance is not my thing.....un-fortunately there are no centralist Green focused led parties in NZ...
Money, well so? there is more to life than money which many of the more extreme right whingers dont seem to fathom, its known as having a life and not being a scrooge.  Thats generally ppls choice so I dont interfer where it doenst effect me, my future and my chidlrens future. 

Thank you, steven, for the clarification. It may come as a surprise to you that from time to time I rec posts by you and pdk, however, if there is abusive content, I refrain. 
I visit this website regularly as a break from my involvement in a major translation work where I unlock the English for a team of translators. I'm never far from a computer.
We live on the smell of an oily rag, and have done for years, but that looks to be about to change. We can survive well here in Hk because we only have to pay a token rent. HK has just been voted the world's most livable city and I can vouch for that.
We have to remember that the vast bulk of visitors to come here for financial content and we are just a sideshow. It was interesting to see the hits a link I posted for due dilligence on an investment I posted a couple of weeks ago. A large number certainly came from Maybe some did put their toe in the water. Later next week I'll post to see who or if anyone did.
One last thing, nic the nzer, yesterday posted something conciliatory on Monckton and AGW. Good to see someone let their mind off the hamster wheel. More of this is needed and would make blogging here much more pleasant.

I think you must have read my conciliation wrong, though I appreciate the fantastic lack of credibility he lends to AGW denial. He is not very convincing, which is why people should watch him in person. If you are referring to the link to him actually speaking, that is what I was pointing out.
This following video probably more indicative of my personal attitude to him, but if you enjoy being lied to, feel free to take him seriously. I realise that some people enjoy being sold snake oil, and I don't need to control your inclination. Apparantly he can even earn a living flouncing around the world doing his thing. Hey, maybe if you pay him enough, he could perjure himself in the NZ courts? I would certainly find that amusing.
I think its clear enough, Mr Inslee doesn't enjoy being lied to, and so he doesn't bother asking him any open questions.
Also please try not to miss-represent anything else I may have written.

Gawd, I was trying to be nice to you. Clearly I wasted my time.

Asses in law
Richard Treadgold | July 18, 2012

Local warmists are scathing in their condemnation of the Coalition’s action against NIWA, but their fury is fuelled by fossilised notions of what we’re trying to do. Not to mention flawed by having only a distant acquaintance with what we have actually said.
It’s a fossil fuel-filled fury.
There is everywhere a tendency to take pot shots at our suit without engaging with the substance of it. For example, Gareth Renowden says:

The law does not concern itself with trifles, and the minutiae of the techniques used to homogenise temperature records to account for site moves and instrument changes is nothing if not trifling with respect to the climatological big picture. New Zealand and the world have warmed significantly over the last 150 years, of that there is no doubt, and no amount of legal action will make warming go away and New Zealand’s glaciers recover the mass they’ve lost.

But the temperature records are an indispensable portion of the “big picture”.
How strange that he can acknowledge that we’re challenging the “minutiae” of the national temperature record but immediately claim that there’s no doubt New Zealand has warmed significantly over the last 150 years.
What is it about the doubt implicit in our challenge that he doesn’t understand? How could our challenge exist unless confidence in warming was less than universal? There most certainly is doubt.
Does he know that our statistical audit of NIWA’s reconstruction of the 7SS reduces its conclusion of warming from 0.91°C per century to 0.34°C per century — to virtual insignificance? Does he know that in that reconstruction NIWA overstated the country’s warming by 168%?
Can he accept that this means there is doubt about the national warming? Will he ever ask the sensible question: why does the Coalition doubt NIWA’s work? What is or are the rational reason or reasons behind it?
Until he does, he’ll resort only to prejudice.


If everyone here agreed with you, by getting off the hamster wheel, wouldn't that leave you out of a job? I think you should appreciate our contribution, just as I appreciate that of the good lord.

The "contribution" of your team on focuses on personal abuse in a cultish fetish with a minor trace gas.
Now how many of the 10 commandments does that break?
But I digress, I bow to your omniscience, Oh Great Hamster.

oh I dont know.....I think you are wrong and jumping to conclusions is of no benefit.

I doubt NZ is much infected much with astro-turfing myself....and I doubt OMG's paid, his views seem more personal, vested interest......politically driven etc....ill-founded, ie ignoring math and science, yes.  His blinkers though are his limitation IMHO....

Here's some content for you, a critique of Wishart's book from a genuine climate scientist. Peer-reviewed scientific research is not a cult. 

Hot Topic has been laughed off the planet. But I guess you wanted a desperately needed click. Go here for the truth - 120 million have so far.

Yep, per comment.

Love and kisses - yep, thats' a cool $1,000,000 this week.
Now isn't it your bed time? ;-)

You and I both know that Anthony Watts is a former TV weather presenter whose website is funded by fossil fuel lobby groups such as the Heartland Institute. He has never published in a recognised scientific journal. 

Yes I know of his background, and his scientific abilities. He runs the website. So what? Why are you so insecure? Prince Charles, Albert Gore, are these clowns your role models?  Start your own website. 

No, anybody can start a website and write whatever rubbish they like on it. It takes much more than that to publish a scientifically peer-reviewed paper. That's the point I am trying to explain to you.

Al Gore has quite a number of websites, thanks for reminding me. LOL.

This would disagree with you regarding peer review as some kind of high-horse moral authority.

OMG, that site is really rubbish.....there is nothing there to rely on, but thats your choice.

Give us a link to where "Hot Topic" is laughed at.

That's the thing I find most bizarre. Denialists will happily put their faith in right-wing pollies and media outlets rather than listening to the 98% of scientists who currently support AGW. Peer-review research means nothing when their imagination believe that the all of these scientists are part of one 'giant conspiracy'.

So who do they listen to? Outlets like fox news, corporately funded 'research' institutes like Heartland, or other right-wing commentators of course! These would never have another agenda of course would they? No, of course not! It MUST be the scientists who are out to make a buck!!!
The ignorance is astounding.

Read this.  Explains the mindset of who-cares-if-it-makes-sense-so-long-as-it-comes-from-someone-in-my-tribe-and-is-what-i-want-to-believe-anyway.



double post. Sorry, slow internet.

Nope, that's a triple post, like all members of your cult, just say something three times, click your heels and it's true, LOL.

Whoops, I was in the middle of replying to you and it all went weird.  Anyway, what i was going to say was that the book isn't really about the US religious right - that's just the most prominent of the examples cited.  It's about a pattern of thinking that isn't confined to any one ideology or belief system.  More prevalent in some, but by no means exclusive.

Firstly, I myself do not belong to any political party and in the last election I didn't vote. It is you introducing politics into science.
Secondly you seem to be implying scientists uncorruptable. Well let me tell you that AGW grant money they scramble for is one hell of a lure. The climategate emails are a real eye opener.
Thirdly you trot out a stunning lie claiming 98% of scientists support AGW - actually what you really mean is catastrophic global warming. None of those challenging your belief system disagree that there has been a mild warming but take major issue with the cause and whether it even matters. You have a problem in that most people now couldn't care less about your global warming "Cause" That's why the four of you are rocking up to rec each other's posts in a vain effort to score new recruits.
Here are the facts and I thank you for giving the opportunity to air them.
How do we know there’s a scientific consensus on climate change? Pundits and the press tell us so. And how do the pundits and the press know? Until recently, they typically pointed to the number 2500 – that’s the number of scientists associated with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Those 2500, the pundits and the press believed, had endorsed the IPCC position.
To their embarrassment, most of the pundits and press discovered that they were mistaken – those 2500 scientists hadn’t endorsed the IPCC’s conclusions, they had merely reviewed some part or other of the IPCC’s mammoth studies. To add to their embarrassment, many of those reviewers from within the IPCC establishment actually disagreed with the IPCC’s conclusions, sometimes vehemently.
The upshot? The punditry looked for and recently found an alternate number to tout — “97% of the world’s climate scientists” accept the consensus, articles in the Washington Post and elsewhere have begun to claim.
This number will prove a new embarrassment to the pundits and press who use it. The number stems from a 2009 online survey of 10,257 earth scientists, conducted by two researchers at the University of Illinois. The survey results must have deeply disappointed the researchers – in the end, they chose to highlight the views of a subgroup of just 77 scientists, 75 of whom thought humans contributed to climate change.  The ratio 75/77 produces the 97% figure that pundits now tout.
The two researchers started by altogether excluding from their survey the thousands of scientists most likely to think that the Sun, or planetary movements, might have something to do with climate on Earth – out were the solar scientists, space scientists, cosmologists, physicists, meteorologists and astronomers. That left the 10,257 scientists in disciplines like geology, oceanography, paleontology, and geochemistry that were somehow deemed more worthy of being included in the consensus. The two researchers also decided that scientific accomplishment should not be a factor in who could answer – those surveyed were determined by their place of employment (an academic or a governmental institution). Neither was academic qualification a factor – about 1,000 of those surveyed did not have a PhD, some didn’t even have a master’s diploma.
To encourage a high participation among these remaining disciplines, the two researchers decided on a quickie survey that would take less than two minutes to complete, and would be done online, saving the respondents the hassle of mailing a reply. Nevertheless, most didn’t consider the quickie survey worthy of response –just 3146, or 30.7%, answered the two questions on the survey:
1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?
2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?
The questions were actually non-questions.  From my discussions with literally hundreds of skeptical scientists over the past few years, I know of none who claims that the planet hasn’t warmed since the 1700s, and almost none who think that humans haven’t contributed in some way to the recent warming – quite apart from carbon dioxide emissions, few would doubt that the creation of cities and the clearing of forests for agricultural lands have affected the climate. When pressed for a figure, global warming skeptics might say that human are responsible for 10% or 15% of the warming; some skeptics place the upper bound of man’s contribution at 35%. The skeptics only deny that humans played a dominant role in Earth’s warming.
Surprisingly, just 90% of those who responded to the first question believed that temperatures had risen – I would have expected a figure closer to 100%, since Earth was in the Little Ice Age in the centuries immediately preceding 1800. But perhaps some of the responders interpreted the question to include the past 1000 years, when Earth was in the Medieval Warm Period, generally thought to be warmer than today.
As for the second question, 82% of the earth scientists replied that that human activity had significantly contributed to the warming. Here the vagueness of the question comes into play. Since skeptics believe that human activity has been a contributing factor, their answer would have turned on whether they consider a 10% or 15% or 35% increase to be a significant contributing factor. Some would, some wouldn’t.
In any case, the two researchers must have feared that an 82% figure would fall short of a convincing consensus – almost one in five wasn’t blaming humans for global warming — so they looked for subsets that would yield a higher percentage.  They found it – almost — in those whose recent published peer-reviewed research fell primarily in the climate change field. But the percentage still fell short of the researchers’ ideal. So they made another cut, allowing only the research conducted by those earth scientists who identified themselves as climate scientists.
Once all these cuts were made, 75 out of 77 scientists of unknown qualifications were left endorsing the global warming orthodoxy. The two researchers were then satisfied withtheir findings. Are you?
Lawrence Solomon is executive director of Energy Probe and the author of The Deniers.

What content is there to add that isnt already out there? as if IW adds legit content....could it be his claims border on liable and slaunder hence publishers avoid him?
Very probably.

Lies? or opinion?  or a tin foil hat wearer?  for instance he doesnt believe AGW....or it seems darwinism....the latter at least is as about as irrefutable  science as you can get......the only other alternative is creationalism which isnt science........but a fundimentalist view, (mainstream christians it seems have no issue with Darwinism) his views appear very uh american conservative....or kooky....

Kakapo I wasnt refering that you are a fool ,I was giving Mr Wishart credit.

I wouldn't bother, it's a waste of the credit.
Wishart did some good investigative journalism, about a quarter-century ago.
Just remember that god-fearing religion is a lie, and start from there. The fact that he has bedfellows like Baz, just reinforce my wish to ascertain what the truth is, from first principles.

Powerupkiwi which journalism of wisharts was good please enlighten us
list the topics here please.
I think you are just slagging the man. Wishart lays the info out for every one to see
maybe there is a point of interest here you say that God fearing religion is a lie whats that
mean in regards this topic and whats your issue, Mr Wishart is onto this climate change
stuff thats being shoved down our throats ,also follow the money on all this tax and carbon
fees its a joke .

Do you mean "good"or did you actually mean to write bad?
Just reading the bible where it lays out that he gave the earth to us to use as we wish pretty much says his (IW's) new found religious beliefs wont accept AGW....

Baz - thinking is good, try it sometime.
When folk offload their responsibilities (to future generations, and to the integrated biology of the planet, in this case) onto some mythial deity, they haven't offloaded it onto anything. Sadly, they've abdicated themselves, though. The next short delusional step is that their deity is in control of all things - which means we can't be doing anythig  wrong if we're fervent believers. It's scary stuff, and no basis for investigative reporting, which should be ascertaining truths. Starting from too skewed a base-line.
I thought 'Daylight Robbery' was a reasonable stab. I think 'Investigate' is - what I've seen of it - not. I worked with Chris Carter once (is he still pouring forth?) and didn't agree with much he stood for, either.....  
You enjoy talk-back radio?    Just a guess. 

Thanks - great atricle - I am all for Solar PV and small scale stuff but the National Grid is not going to go away.  Answer me this?
New Zealand could so very easily achieve 100% renewable electricity but we continue to waste our gas to make electricity (at a 30% thermal efficiency) with stupid “Take or Pay” contracts (that only benefit the Todd family) and inefficient power stations.  What’s more, if we don’t change this situation, New Zealand will be building a dangerous LNG import terminal in New Plymouth that will make us dependant even more on fossil fuels.
NZ should convert the national grid to 100% renewables – in fact we have an ethical responsibility to do this and set an example to the world because if we can’t no one can.  Please check out my blog…

OK, happy to....big thing no one has a strategic view, Muldoon it seems with hydro we have can kickers...
100% renewable, yes and no. We should because its essential to have this for our economy to and even survival for, us. That also means resiliancy, but that means extra cost (spare plant) that few want to pay for....A classic is the OAPs, they dont see the point in more generation when whats here will last them out....very self centred in a way....but when you income is fixed and limited somewhat understandable.....
If you look at where the generation companies are going its not towards Ngas despite the wishes of the likes of Jerry Brownless (who is frankly a retard IMHO) but towards renewables.  However NGas and gas turbines do something very well that as far as I know no other plant can, get to 100% load in mere minutes. This means they are prefect for peak load lopping.  The other alternative is as per OMG's and my discusion, smart metering and control...mix of both, also lifestyle changes......
In terms of a Ngas terminal, I just hope its privately funded, they can go broke then with no worries for the rest of us. 
Right now of course its sit here and do nothing because any other option is a cost and risk to the present Govn. So we will in the future hurt a lot as we are forced to change, I just hope the huge stress wont break our society...thats my huge worry now.  Crazy thing is we (Govn) can borrow at 10 year rates at virtually no we could be replacing plant easily....

Thanks some good points – while Mighty River Power has done some great work with Geothermal and Meriden with Wind, there is, like you say, no big picture or strategic plan – just the “Can Kickers”. What we need is some future vision.  We could replace the peaking ability of Gas with a decent sized pumped storage scheme.  With more wind and sensible management of the existing hydro as an integrated system, we could easily do 100% renewables.  However, there is no way in the world short term thinking private generators could build a pumped storage scheme like this one ( – it takes government vision.    While pumped storage is not an option for many nations – New Zealand has a unique topography suitable for it.  Did you know that using gas to heat water via the electricity generation process is about 35% efficient – Using gas in instantaneous direct burn hot water systems is about 85% efficient?   Every other country is taking steps to reduce reliance on fossil fuels – we have our head in the sand, wasting our gas to make electricty.  The LNG terminal that we will need one day if we don’t sort this out will be built on the basis of a government guaranteed long term LNG contract.  With the money it takes to build this terminal, we could have built a pumped storage station.  

Yes fact very very neat, congrats you get my vote of best post of the day.
Now if I wanted an off grid unit far from anywhere....the 10kwh would be what i'd buy....has an air cooled radiator....I'd run a 3 way valve system off it to hot water radiators in the house...and I'd probably have the air radiator inside a greenhouse anyway...drool........Ive done combined heat and power before....much bigger of course, 5Mw.....and it used Ngas waste hot water at 120Deg C ran absorption chillers in summer heating in winter...
Interesting thing is, this uses pretty much low tech stuff.....apart from the PLC controller...but tahts probably easy to replace.
So $26KNZ for 10kwh unit....lifespan in excess fo 30 years I would think....very nice.
Dont show baz he wants to dig hard stuff out of the ground...LOL...

I was interested in your assessment - it certainly  looked very interesting although I didn't have time to have a good look as I was heading out the door. I'll be keeping this one up my sleeve.

The issue, as always, is relative scale. We are attempting to replace the stored solar energy of aeons, stored as coal/gas/oil, with real-time solar energy (biomass counts in terns of single years, not millions). That becomes a kilowatt/acre displacement issue.
So in small scale, fine. Not the magic elixir required to support continued BAU,though.

Since you are "keen" on solar panels, here is a 3kw kit...I assume that using non-us solar panels will be a lot cheaper....$14kUS.....for a suburb better than a chp as its silent...
My worry with a solar unit is the complexity to make it (ie replacements in say 15 years time) and how long it will last, the panels anyway.

Ive not looked at it in real detail yet....but the fact it is or can be used for research suggests a very good unit....I will try and find more on it. 

Steven, regarding the gasifier, why don't you get pdk and say 8 others together, put $5k each in buy a unit as a demonstration model, head for the field days in Hamilton -  your $50k all up should cover a unit, promotional material, a site - if still available - and accommodation. You will need to negotiate a dealership with the manufacturers first though. OK, just a suggestion, but you will need to act quickly IMO. If you made 2k on each unit - they will have a bulk trade price - I reckon you'd sell a ton of these to rural folk and make some real dough.

Im looking forward to the list of Mr Wisharts lies i'm still waiting.............
the good news is i have  had delivered last week my new coal burner which
i will install in the next couple of weeks which will add to the co2 levels hopefully it will
help the trees grow quicker and heat up the planet so all will benefit.
Please forward the list of Mr Wisharts miss truths powerupkiwi.

i'm waiting ..........

Sorry Powerupkiwi you must be at church,do the list when you can.

So you post at :49 then :52 and again at :57...
If you had the capability or wish to compare what IW says v other sites I'd suggest some good URLs..but here's just one....
Otherwise sure carry on reading sites written by such.
here for instance,
have fun...

Steven and powerupkiwi less of the cheap shots thanks . I read what you post
try less personal knocking . I dont believe that you guys are as clever as you think
you are . Steven I read your comments on Ian Wisharts christian beliefs what you
are saying is in plain english hes dumb because he believes in God . so when
he debates anyone regardless of facts you must disqualify him because hes less
of a man than you because hes weak. I inclued PDK in this as well. both of your
rebuttals have a hint of narcissism in them. So I enquired into this a bit more and
a verse in the bible says--only a fool says in his heart there is no God .

Hello, what do you think 3 posts in 15mins is but a cheap shot?
No Im not saying IW is dumb, he's blinkered, there is a big difference...Im also not saying he's weak either.....he obviously has talents...But facts is exactly what he cant see because of blinkers.
In terms of clever, not really Ive met ppl that I do regard as really clever shall I say. I also work with many ppl clearly cleverer than myself, unfortunately they can have blinkers as well as they are so specialised.  Ive spent 35 years doing engineering....everything from rebuilding car engines to PWRs.....and quite a lot of design....I love doing engineering design, its what my degree is in hence I read and research a lot as well.
God, no dont believe in god, and especially religion however the principles of loving fellow man and looking after the planet as custodians, as sort of laid out in the bible/koran (its all the same) yes very much so tahts simply good morals IMHO. Otherwise I consider religion a crutch for the weak minded and an sop for the want to act amoral.....for the former it helps them get through their lives fair enough, live and let live.....
Narcissism, well maybe you should look to yourself, in fact it neatly describes libertarians actually, 
Mainly pursuing selfish goals
Taking advantage of others to reach their own goals
Being obsessed with oneself
In fact when you consider its 1% of the population it even gives an interesting statistical match...
To keep the bible going Whos to throw the first stone then? oops I think you self scored.....

Steven - I asked the 'talk-back' question with reason. When you get down to that end of things, there's a fair built-in bias coupled with an inability to recognise same, and it's fed on by the John Laws types. I watched him honing the style 30+ years ago in Oz.

Steven I didnt use wikipedia to define narcissistic . I am not a libertarian . what I am
is a person who has had enough of the spin and crap being shoved down our throats
by know-alls about man made climate change etc.its un proven ...the pollys love it,bankers love it the united nations love it. And I didnt self score PDK speaks down to most that differ to
him . blinkered would apply to both of you. The dictionary term for narcissism is egotism,self-admiration  I said it im still saying thats the attitude of the man.

"about man made climate change etc.its un proven"
An illogical comment:  The lead-times are such, that the only valid approach is to address it as if it is happening. If it isn't, we have the luxury of backing-off. If it is, we will have been doing the right thing. If we do nothing then find we had to, it'll be too late.
Its nothing to do with self-admiration, it's atout thinking logically.

Please do make sure to keep this conversation in mind. A time will come, not to long in the future when you recognise who is really lying, and we can have full confidence that the leaders of this group understand what they are doing. When that happens, its time to think for just a minute, because its up to you that you choose to let these people lie to you. A little bit of scepticism and you could be absolutely 100% sure that at least one side is lying, or you could continue to consider yourself a noble sceptic, with no idea of what that actually entails.

Spin and crap.....found in the pages of Investigate!

Hugh Pavlevitch reads this site & often comments favourably on the lack of a housing bubble in Texas, especially Houston, often associated with liberal zoning, plentiful land for development, and limited public services. However this is just one aspect of life in Texas.  Below are a few stats from the report "Texas on the Brink".

As Thomas Powers writes in the current issue of the New York Review of Books, "To be young, employed, well-paid, and in good health in Texas with no kids in public schools and no aged parents or disabled children to look after is a gentle fate; the opposite, not so gentle."
Perhaps surprisingly, even the housing statistics are not so good. Cheap housing does not seem to have helped Texans achieve home ownership, home equity, or greater net worth, despite a supposedly prosperous economy. The ranks below refer to rankings amongst the 50 US states.
% population with no health insurance: 1st
per capita state spending on mental health: 50th
total health care expenditure per capita: 44th
mortgage debt as % of home value: 47th
foreclosure rate: 10th
median net worth: 47th
average credit score: 49th
income inequality: 9th
home ownership rate: 44th
taxation: poorest 20% pay 12.2% of income in state taxes, richest 20% pay 3%

I received the following comment via email regarding the 1992 drop in demand: "I enjoyed your article about electricity demand. I wondered if you realised that the drop in consumption in 1992 was caused by a power crisis...During the first six months of the year the industry had cut all street lights midnight to dawn; implemented savage water heating cuts; run a media campaign to reduce consumption and brought in buy-back incentives for business and industrial users."

That is correct Gareth, I missed the worst of that because I moved to Oz. A mention of it is here.