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New Zealand - Historic, New Zealand Electrical System, New Zealand Energy System, New Zealand Transportation Issues

#15 Even 100 Years Ago, The New Zealand Oil Dependence Problem Was Obvious

Here are two interesting quotes worth reflecting on from early Engineering leaders about the benefits of electric vehicles and electricity in New Zealand.  It is interesting to note that even 100 years ago, it was plain to see that with a petrol based transportation system, we “pledge our credit to foreign nations”.  FreeNRG4NZ is about taking steps towards Energy independence for New Zealand, there is no doubt that in the coming years the price of Oil is going to rise massively in proportion to current personal and national expenditure and this is going create more pain than necessary if we don’t prepare NOW.  And there is a very simple equation / solution for New Zealand: More Wind Power (or other proven solutions until we achieve 100% renewables), Use Natural Gas for Direct Heat Applications and Trasnport (instead of burning it at 30% efficiency to make electricity), More Energy Efficiency and, More Electrification of the Transport Sector.

Birks 1918 – “In road transport even greater changes are to come. The petrol-car has certainly reached a high state of development, and is very satisfactory. But it is still an explosion machine and explosive machine: the production of power is violently intermittent and irregular.  This reacts on the life of the engine, chassis, body, and tires, and on the comfort of the whole vehicle.  The electric motor operated from a battery is the smoothest, steadiest and most silent form of power possible. The cost of power at present prices is less than one-half of the cost of petrol, and the cost of repairs and maintenance proportionally low. It takes five minutes to learn all there is to learn in driving an electric car, and there is nothing to go wrong. From the national point of view it consumes only natural power from the mountains instead of petrol, for which we have to pledge our credit to a foreign nation to the amount of 2s.6d. (25 cents) for every gallon consumed.  The petrol-lorry running say fifteen miles to the gallon costs 2d per mile for fuel only.  The electric-battery car or lorry is garaged, examined, and charged up every night by the Christchurch City Council at 30 pounds to 60 pounds per year, according to capacity, ranging from 1 ton to 3 tons of load – i.e., from 2s to 4s per day, giving a daily range of sixty miles. 

Even if only forty-eight miles per day of this range can be utilized effectively the cost of electricity per mile ton is only 1d. for a 1-ton lorry or car, and up to 1d for a 3-ton a lorry – a very substantial saving compared with petrol.  There are about a dozen such vehicles now in use inChristchurchfor various purposes, and provision is being made in anticipation of this number increasing to five or six hundred in the near future. The figure shows the City Council, electric-battery lorry for refuse and coal, which is not only propelled but also tipped  by electric power.  The problem of economy in the domestic delivery of milk, bread and other commodities is engaging the attention of our local economists. The ultimate solution of this problem will certainly be expressed in terms of hydroelectric power.” 

The NZ Electricity System was constructed by our predecessors for the betterment of society, not for padding out the NZX or for the glory of private enterprise CEO High Priests

Hancock 1904 – “With this cheap [Hydroelectric] power available, wonders can be accomplished for the colony [ofNew Zealand]. It has been found in a good many cases that industries spring up in a locality where there is an abundance of cheap power, and judging from conditions in the colony this will be true of any development you may put in.

Every city, town and hamlet can be furnished not only with power and light, but with heat also.  The supplying of power from large systems, where they pass through the small towns, at rates that could not be thought of hitherto, will help in a wonderful way to build them up.  Industries that thrive best in small places will be encouraged, the population will be better distributed, and many of the evils of a crowded city avoided. This immense supply will enable each home in the colony to enjoy luxuries that in other countries are enjoyed only by the rich. The home, where electric cooking, heating and lighting are installed, will be a model of convenience and comfort.  The servant question will be nearer a solution, and the drudgery largely done away with. In the factory and shop, electricity will do the work that is now so wearing, and in every department of life applications of it will be used that will bring about material advancement to a wonderful degree.”


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Contributions sought for this blog > If you have ideas on how New Zealand can move towards 100% renewable electricity as the first step and then onward towards full energy independence - contact us. Lets all work together to get the conversation moving more.


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