Wind power more viable than fossil fuels | The Jackal

25 Mar 2013

Wind power more viable than fossil fuels

Today, Radio NZ reported:

At a wind energy conference last week Siemens talked about the steps it has been taking to try and reduce the cost of wind power so that it can become competitive with fossil fuels.

The company, which works across the energy sector around the globe, focuses on wind in New Zealand.

Its executive vice-president for energy for the Pacific, David Pryke, says the long-term viability of gas and coal in New Zealand is a problem and given the good wind conditions, wind energy is at the point where it's close to being a competitive source.

He says New Zealand is an attractive market to Siemens because it's perhaps the only country in the world where subsidies are not needed for wind energy.

That puts into context Nationals promotion of fossil fuels instead of clean energy... Even without any government subsidies, wind power generation is nearly as competitive as coal or gas powered generation, which is currently heavily subsidized by the government.

I have to disagree with David Pryke though, wind and solar power subsidies are required to make it an even playing field. Better yet, the government should simply remove the current subsidies and tax breaks that the oil and gas industry enjoys.

Increasing competition would ensure the best systems were implemented.

But Mr Pryke says Siemens would like to move towards making wind competitive in all markets globally in the medium term.

As to why there is not more wind site development in New Zealand, he says that's because there is not enough demand for power in general.

In the Radio NZ interview embedded below, David Pryke also said the size of known gas fields in New Zealand didn't warrant further investment into gas powered generation, saying that banks would likely not fund such endeavours because the supply wasn't available to make them viable long term.

The David Pryke interview is at 7:23

You've got to wonder why the government is helping to fund the building of more gas powered plants if there is no long term viability? If the banks aren't going to provide funding, why is National spending taxpayers money on a business model that has no future?

Is that the same kind of business sense that resulted in Solid Energy failing?