As New Zealand's population grows, the demand for energy to heat homes, run appliances, advance industry, and power vehicles has also grown. Advances in efficiency, insulation and power saving have not offset the growth in demand, as those advances are not affordable for many households and businesses.
In addition, energy sources are in the hands of commercial operators, who resist spending on research and development of alternative sustainable energy, and increase prices when consumers create ‘shortages’ by making energy-saving alterations.
The Democrats for Social Credit Party will promote:
• A programme of energy self-sufficiency targets.
• Research into manufacture and use of alternative energy resources.
• Decreased reliance on and careful management of non-renewable resources such as coal reserves.
• The development of non-polluting energy plants throughout the country, using nil or low interest loans from the Reserve Bank.
• Wind farms, tidal turbine generators and solar power for heating and plant operations, developed with nil or low interest loans from the Reserve Bank Monetary Authority.
• Geothermal energy as low grade heat for fuel fermentation and agricultural purposes.
• A uniform rate for transporting energy through the national grid.
• A single selling desk for wholesale energy, operated by the Ministry of Energy under a National Energy Plan.
• Energy conservation in housing such as double or triple glazing and better thermal design.
• Reinstatement of the South Island power differential.
• A moratorium on the installation of smart meters, and a full enquiry into the health effects of EMR.
In place of the neo-liberal call for all aspects of the economy to be commoditised, it is intended for essential infrastructure such as energy and transport, as well as the money supply itself, to be public utilities which are managed by the government for economic, social and environmental benefit.
Power companies will be directed to operate as public utilities, and to research and develop sustainable alternatives to the current power stations and hydro dams, as a higher priority than delivering a profit to shareholders. Some alternatives already being developed are solar power, photovoltaic systems and wind power, but these methods are slow to be implemented due to poor funding, community resistance, and weak financial incentives.
Delivering electricity by cross-country pylons is grossly inefficient due to power loss with each kilometre of cable. Development of micro generators would eliminate this inefficiency by generating power near to where it will be used. These micro systems may be used by local bodies to power communities, by households to supply individual power needs or a combination of both. Micro generators have a multitude of benefits: each household could be self-sustaining, non-finite sources such as wind, sun and rain could be harnessed, family incomes would not be eroded by rising power prices, and businesses could reduce their overheads.
Using new economic tools, alongside micro-energy, initiatives will be the development and distribution of energy storage modules for times of surplus, and a system that pays households to deliver surplus energy back into a local supply for use by others.
Affordable and sustainable energy supplies will benefit the environment through cleaner air and less pressure on non-renewable resources. It will also benefit families and communities, improving health outcomes and relieving pressure on incomes.
Stephnie de Ruyter, Energy Spokesman
Published: August 2017