Auckland's Climate Action Plan

Fossil fuels in bad books

Rex Smith
Rex Smith | 3 months ago | in Open Ideas

Fossil fuels are in the bad books. Fortunately, our wind and solar power technologies are now mature enough industries to complement our hydro and thermal resources (albeit coal and gas are still required to top up our peak loading!). Yet wave power, which holds greater potential energy than either wind or solar (and operates 24/7), is proving difficult to bring to commercialisation in a country that is surrounded by boisterous ocean! For instance, the Azura wave device (a point absorber typically comprised of mooring and float – see pix), had significant NZ input, but has experienced a decade of prototype development. Why is this? Lack of funding probably. But also because custom made floats need to be incredibly large to generate power; are incredibly expensive to construct; are incredibly difficult to service; and are incredibly likely to be trashed by the ocean. And they need to be near an existing national grid to distribute their power.   

So here’s a solution to funding, mass, and un-trash-ability. Massive, powerful moorings already exist (they’re called decommissioned oil rigs). Massive, powerful floats already exist (they’re called the ‘ghost fleet’ off Singapore – see pix). Both of these major components to point absorber wave generators can be picked up for a song. 

Andrew Dyson 3 months ago

I am not sure fossil fuels being in the "bad" books is the point. The problem is what you stated, alternates are expensive and hard to maintain. Most people would gladly go away from them if we could without having to work twice as hard to get the same results while spending more.Yes its good for the environment but so what? You could point towards looming disasters all day long but if the "settled" science gets proven wrong again and again by observed facts (Hint the north pole is NOT ice free and there are more polar bears than ever in some areas) then you are going to lose people.

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