Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Done like a dinner

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  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    My bright idea though involves the govt getting energy companies to work together rather than to compete –

    With competition you get winners and losers, with co-operation you only get winners.
    This is something the current Government would have a big problem with, they need the losers to piss on.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Light electric vehicles are exempt from RUC until 2020 at least. That's a reasonable subsidy.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    with co-operation you only get winners.

    How do you see that working with say the likes of Fonterra one of our biggest cooperatives?

    A cooperative monopoly that ruthlessly stifles all competition. So , all good then.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    excellent - I wonder if it also applies to the electric part of dual fuel cars like a plug in Prius

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    The LTA says they don't exist so are not considered (!)

    What happens if you have one is that energy you generate with petrol is taxed and energy from the grid isn't. So you get a partial subsidy.

    To "fairly" tax one would be hard and involve having the cars computer report on electricity / petrol usage.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Should plug-in hybrid electric vehicles using diesel as a secondary fuel become available, they too will be eligible for the exemption.
    So your Volvo plug-in hybrid such as the V60 qualifies for the exemption.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/car-manufacturers/volvo/9966686/Volvo-V60-Plug-in-Hybrid-review.html

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I have just installed my solar power system.
    2kw of Panels @48volts
    60amp MPPT solar controller
    200 a/h Lithium Iron Sulphide Yttrium Batteries @ 48 volts.
    48 volt 4Kw inverter/charger
    5 Kva diesel generator for that extra bit of whoomph (9 Kw of usable power)
    All up around $17,000
    This would pay for itself in 10 years at current power prices but as we know, power prices will rise and hopefully the cost of such systems will come down as parts need upgrading or replacement.
    I looked at solar water heating but for the amount of hot water we need, shower, washing up etc. is not enough to justify the cost, a califont and gas bottle work out sufficient.
    ETA.
    The power company wanted $40,000 to connect us to the grid so the cost of solar became rather attractive.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh,

    I'm confused by the comments on the cost of solar water heating. We installed one out here in the village and I remember it costing around 1000 yuan, about NZ$200. Still, our calculation had nothing to do with economics and everything to do with the convenience of showering at home rather than the village bathhouse - which would be year-round with the addition of an electric booster and some kind of heating in the room it's installed in. Then again, collossal market and solar is really popular here. So popular that when I was in Jinghong in Yunnan province the rooftops were forests of solar water heaters and fancy hotels advertised 24 hour hot water on big billboards by their entrances - sure, tropical climate and really sunny (Yunnan means 'south of the clouds'), but solar water heating is just as common up here in the north. But other than the comparatively tiny size of the market, I'm struggling to understand why solar water heating is apparently so incredibly expensive in NZ.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Attachment Attachment

    Bjorn Lomborg provides a perspective

    And a couple of pics to match his comments on China.

    PV and coal (and that power station is expanding, dammit). He seems to think it’s either renewable or fossil fuel, but China’s doing renewable, fossil fuel and nuclear all at the same time, keeping the economy going while putting in new, cleaner sources of energy.

    Biomass for cooking and heating - and, yes, coal to the left. When it was biomass alone, winter mornings could see mops and basins of water left inside overnight frozen. Coal means it may be only 12 degrees inside on a winter morning, but that's a vast improvement. Other families we know up here have got their places even warmer after rebuilding their houses and put in more modern windows and glass doors (ranch sliders and the like). In a rural area, what's more renewable than agricultural waste? I wonder how it stacks up in terms of carbon emissions, though.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Agricultural waste is carbon emissions neutral surely.
    But Bjorn's emphasis seems to be less on carbon emissions at this stage , and more on sustainable energy futures. It is a much longer term view; we are always going to require vast amounts of energy, regardless of climate , and fossil fuels are finite.. He seems to favour using fossil fuels wisely and economically to get ourselves to that sustainable energy future. That seems like having the horse in front of the cart.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • Roger Lacey,

    For those interested in doing it themselves, the latest edition of The Shed magazine has a lot of information about converting a car to battery power. http://www.theshedmag.co.nz.
    Disclaimer: Before I conveniently forget, I write for the magazine.

    Whatakataka Bay Surf Club… • Since Apr 2008 • 148 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    There are a few about; not really general purpose though:-
    http://www.hurricaneproducts.co.nz/electric-vehicles.html?gclid=CMrZ9fnPsrYCFQQcpQodAXYAsQ

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    For a small house in Christchurch we are looking at at least $14,000 for solar.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2899 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Hebe,

    $14,000

    ummm... wow....

    Solar water heating alone?!

    What we got was a very simple cylinder with an array of pipes angled to catch the sun and warm the water up, connected to the water supply with hoses running down to connect with the shower head. We could've paid a little more, as in a couple of hundred yuan, to get the electric booster to tide us over the winter, but we don't live up there full time, only the olds do, and they're well used to going a week or more without a shower and using the village bathouse. Even had we installed a stove for heating so we could use that shower over the winter, even a few extra partitions to guarantee privacy, we wouldn't have come close to that kind of spending. But even so, from mid-spring to mid-autumn the water is still warm enough for two people to shower consecutively in the morning.

    In fact, I whipped the calculator out because I didn't trust my mental calculations, but I was right: 70,000 yuan! That's more than my car cost! 70 times what our solar water heater cost!

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Greg Dawson,

    Sorry about that . Bjorn Lomborg's opinion piece is being well received by environmentalists around the globe, with only minor criticisms. Here is a link :-

    http://www.ioannes.com/2013/04/01/the-joy-of-global-warming/

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    The godzone “bach” model consists of a 100 m coil of 12mm alkathene placed on the roof and connected to the shower mixing valve (to avoid getting scalded). Less than $200. If you add in some storage (an old insulated hot water cylinder) and a thermo syphon (bits of pipe to encourage circulation) then you’re home and hosed very cheaply.
    Yours sounds fairly high-tech by comparison.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 778 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    ummm... wow....

    Solar water heating alone?!

    I'd be amazed if that's what Hebe meant. I presumed she was talking about a PV array.

    As for solar water alone, there's a real range of prices. A small DIY with evacuated glass tubes and little by way of guarantees is well under $1000. At the upper end you could pay $4000.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    Ours cost $6000 back in 2004. That's 2 solar panels with glycol running through them (which makes the system frost tolerant down to -18dC), and a 300L Stainless Steel cylinder (doesn't look like they've changed much : LX305. It included installation fees, the crane to get it on the roof, the builder, the electrician and the plumber. So not at all surprised at $14,000 for a full install these days.

    My mother has a cheaper solar install, with water in the panel pipes, and it doesn't work anywhere near as well as ours does.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 620 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Brent Jackson,

    So not at all surprised at $14,000 for a full install these days.

    Why do you think prices would have gone up?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Can you use solar hot water to pre-feed a Rinnai-type instant gas system?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Yes, you can. But you need to ensure the gas unit has a heat tolerant input. Some don't.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell,

    And, as I forgot to add earlier, you will need a water tank of some sort, to store your preheated water. A lot of solar units use a 300l tank. You may also need a tempering valve on the output of the whole setup - normally a gas unit doesn't need this, as it is limited to a maximum output of 50 degrees C.

    Something else to be borne in mind is the need to keep the stored water above 65 degrees C, to inhibit the growth of legionella. This may mean installing a booster electric element.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to John Farrell,

    You may also need a tempering valve on the output of the whole setup – normally a gas unit doesn’t need this, as it is limited to a maximum output of 50 degrees C.

    If I'm interpreting that correctly, then the tempering unit is highly recommended. The sun can get the water really damn hot, and in my experience with solar water heating, trying to find that perfect balance between scalding your skin off and giving yourself hypothermia can be really fiddly.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe,

    I can't tell you the specifics of the 14K figure (mainly because I don't understand the technical details and it was a verbal price). It included a cold-tolerant solar hot water system, an electric back-up, a large cylinder to be installed in a tight space, and what seems to me to be lots of work on the roof to support the panels and then to angle them to the best way to catch the sun (the roof runs north to south with the long sides on the east and west, and a couple of inconvenient hips and gullies on the shortest and sunniest part). Not to mention some new roofing iron and I think reinforcing of the roof timbers.

    All up too expensive and too much bother compared to the benefit (this is not our forever house). I am still mulling a heat pump sytem for heating hot water, which would be very cost-effective (to do that we need to fix the deck post earthquakes; before the deck can be fixed, the house needs to be relevelle and the crumbled ring foundations replaced. By that time solar could well have dropped in price!).

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2899 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Sacha: I think there’s a lot of resentment outside of Auckland about all the money being spent there to mitigate simple geography you can’t really do much about – you already have motorways up the wazoo – Dunedin’s been waiting 30 years now for them to simply finish building the 2 lane divided highway south out of town (to our fastest growing dormitory suburb) I’m told there are bulldozers in Caversham, we may yet see it in my life time, no sign of even plans for the single required overbridge yet though

    Paul, here are the consultation plans. They've moved beyond that now, they start building the overbridge and associated road changes next year as stage 3 of the current upgrade - they're doing stage 2 at the moment.

    So it’s damned energy efficient. But it’s still lugging that petrol engine around for commutes…

    I wonder if someone will develop a model where the petrol engine is a module that can come in out of the car - leaving a cavity like the boot. Would be fairly heavy to get out I guess, but it really doesn't make sense to haul around the engine when you're not using it.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

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