Sunday, February 16, 2014

Solar power for New Zealand homes, now we're talking

Good on the Greens. At last a party prepared to offer some basic, common-sense vision on something as simple as utilising nature to provide solar power for New Zealand households.

This is the sort of thing that should have been picked up long ago by the more mainstream parties.

At a time when the country is crying out for employment opportunities, the idea of a degree of self-sufficiency in terms of household power usage offers plenty.

It defies belief that a country in New Zealand's position is not already a world leader in this regard.

With the amount of sunshine available year round it makes good sense to utilise the advantages nature provides.

For too long that vision revolved around hydro-electric power. But flooding land to achieve the dams to feed that method is a finite prospect. It would be fair to say New Zealand is almost at saturation (pardon the pun) point with that method.

In an earthquake prone country, no-one in their right mind would ponder atomic power, just as much as they wouldn't ponder a tunnel as long as that planned through the mountains in Fiordland to make life a little better for overseas tourists in getting to Milford Sound. But that's another debate.

The reluctance to have solar power readily available to most households in New Zealand is of course a publicly inspired initiative to keep the power resource in the grip of those organisations operating as State-owned enterprises and the profits rolling into the shareholders, and the Government.

It was amusing to see the Minister of Energy and Resources, Simon Bridges, immediately disparage the Greens policy by pulling out the old hoary one about pulling out the printing presses to print money. Pray tell him someone that that is what the world's leading economy has been doing to keep the United States afloat since about 2010. Next thing he'll have Cossacks dancing across our television screens and Reds hiding underneath the beds.

It would be fair to say that Bridges is a pontoon or two short of living up to his name in attempting to 'bridge' the yawning gap between the public acceptance of his off-shore drilling programme and the solar energy policy which is guaranteed to find plenty of support among New Zealanders.

Bridges, who constantly fails to see that his belief that he knows best demeans his arguments, is in danger of criticising something that he may well find his party supporting as they get closer to an election that requires them to launch some copycat policies in order to hold onto the power (again, pardon the pun) they covet.

If a country like Greece can make use of solar power when it lacks the natural advantages of water-borne power that New Zealand has utilised to capacity, then so can New Zealand.

The Greens policy will create jobs, a superior infrastructure and probably some extra power to be fed into the national grid to reduce the need for further invasion of the landscape for hydro-power.

Now how about coming up with another job provider with a second national railway line to take some of the pressure off the country's roading infrastructure?

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