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Posts Tagged ‘Lake Pukaki’

Mother Nature 3 – NZ 0

Posted by feww on May 27, 2008

Electricity Shortages in New Zealand

New Zealand is facing electricity shortages unless sufficient rain recharges its hydro catchments, the government [sic] said.

“Unless we have some increased inflows in the South Island hydro catchments in the next three weeks, further conservation measures will have to be looked at,” the Energy Minister [sic] said.

South Island hydro power facilities provide about two thirds of New Zealand’s electricity. According to a wholesale electricity market operator, storage in hydro-electric lakes is about 40 percent below average. As a result the price of electricity jumped by 30.6 percent to $215.26 per megawatt hour.


Location map of Taupo, New Zealand

In the 2003 power crisis, the government had planned to cut residential hot water supplies, followed by rolling power cuts for residential users, and blackouts.

Rio Tinto’s Tiwai Point aluminum smelter, located in New Zealand’s South Island, consumes about 15 percent of the country’s electricity.

Farm Produce

Earlier this month Bloomberg reported that the prolonged drought in New Zealand, the worst in 20 years, had cut farm production and more than doubled the power prices this year. New Zealand’s energy demand peaks June through August during the hemisphere winter months due to heating use. Hydro-power lakes have been below average since November 2007.

In April 2008, lake Taupo was 18 percent below average. Lake Pukaki was 40 percent below average. Lake Manapouri, which is used to supply Rio Tinto’s Tiwai Point aluminum smelter, was 45 percent below its usual levels.

Continuing drought in New Zealand and Australia, as well as a falling production in the UK and a weak dollar, are raising the prices of milk and dairy products globally. In the past 12 months the price of milk has increased by 32 percent, eggs by 40 percent and wholewheat bread by 26 percent.

Earthquake hit south of Macquarie Island

Meanwhile, in a triple whammy, a 5.9-magnitude quake hit 2100 km (1300 miles) S of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, earlier today close to a major fault line. Recent increased seismic activities N, NW and SE of New Zealand do not bode well for the country. The earthquakes may result in a period intense volcanic activity in New Zealand in the coming weeks.

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