This winter seems to have given us famine and flood.
The cost of fresh veges soared due to unusually wet weather in June. At the same time power prices went up because the southern lakes hadn’t had enough rainfall. The trouble was the rain didn’t fall in the right places.
And the same thing happened last week. The deluge that stranded homeowners and caused headaches for council’s across the south island, did little to raise the level of the hydro lakes.
The Southern Lakes are at 51 per cent of average levels for this time of year and less than a third full according to Genesis Energy.
Low lake levels coupled with higher electricity demand, due to the colder weather creates a real demand supply problem. As the weather warms, the snow melt will help. But then we will use less power anyway.
Every year we face this and every year the cost to heat our homes only goes up as a result. A dry winter doesn’t have to mean higher power costs with distributed energy. Distributed generation will help alleviate the pressure points. Home solar will reduce the demand from the grid and help keep the water in the lakes so we do not go below minimum operating levels. For the homeowner, it will give them a warmer, drier home for less.
Solar doesn’t need heat of summer. Photovoltaic cells generate power from light. So we can take advantage of the dry days, when rain clouds are nowhere to be seen and keep those lakes at good levels for when we really need it.
Photo courtesy of Alden Williams/STUFF