Here in the energy creation section, we will look at how to harness energy from renewable sources to create electricity.
New Zealand is regarding renewable electricity generation one of the leading countries. Over 80% are in NZ created with renewable resources (water, wind, geothermal) (1). New Zealand can with pride further develop renewable electricity generation to get to the magic 100%.
Though even renewable electricity creation has some negative environmental, social and local impacts, there is in our view little doubt that renewables are better than burning coal or gas. Even water dams have according to international studies positive and negative environmental and social impacts on the local economy and environment (2).
Our electric appliances like fridges continually improve and use less electricity. But we do get more and more electric products into our houses and with the rise of electric vehicles, this will only increase. And with steadily rising electricity prices, our power bills still tend to go up every year. Luckily enough, technology has improved and options are entering the market that can truly save us a thousands of dollars going forward. The technologies come in the form of wind, solar, hydro and geothermal systems. All of those technologies have their place and potential to save you money while doing good for the planet.
A challenge that the entire industry still has to overcome is the storage of electricity. Currently the options are lithium batteries and acid batteries. Both batteries have negative environmental impacts in mining and especially acid batteries in disposing of it (4). We are hopeful that as the industry moves further ahead as it did from acid to lithium batteries, cleaner and more efficient solutions will be found.
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(1) NZ Electricity Authority, 'Electricity in New Zealand 2018', NZ Electricity Authority, 13.11.2018
(2) Juan Manuel Andrade Navia and Alfredo Olaya Amaya, 2020. Environmental Impacts of Dams Around the World. Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 15: 23-32.
(4) Wired, 'The spiralling environmental cost of our lithium battery addiction', Author: Amit Katwala, 05.08.2018