Monday 6 May 2024

Deeply unserious country

Every bit of this seems insane. And people wonder why productivity is falling through the floor. 

Energy News reports that the Environment Court finally threw out Allan Crafar's appeal against a solar farm.

From the story:

  • Consent was granted in 2022.
  • Crafar appealed November 2022. On what grounds? That turning a dairy farm into a solar farm would mean the effort of turning it into a dairy farm would have gone to waste. In his view, there would be a $30m annual loss to the country.
  • Competing experts provided evidence about whether there would be a net national benefit. I don't know why this was a consideration.  
  • Bryan Leland, for Crafar, insisted that solar farms ought to have their own backup energy storage.
  • James Findlay, for Crafar, claimed that agricultural returns are commonly believed to 'have six-times multiplier effects'.
  • Crafar claimed the Paris Agreement means a dairy paddock (in a country that doesn't have a carbon price on ag emissions and in a part of the country trying to push down nutrient load from runoff from dairy farms) can't convert to solar panels because of effects on food production. 
  • Judge Tepania dismissed the appeal.
It isn't crazy to object to a land use change that would have substantial adverse flow-on effect on your land use. 

It's nuts that the system entertains objections like this one where there is zero reported real effect - only what amounts to a view that the outfit putting in the solar farm might lose money as compared to keeping it as a dairy farm. 

It's nuts that Todd felt they had to commission an economic analysis to prove net benefits.

It's nuts to invoke Paris Agreement as a reason to block a reduction in dairying. 

And it's darned weird to say that, at current system balance, a solar farm ought to have its own specific backup. When the sun is shining, solar is low-cost power and the hydro lakes spin less water through the turbines, saving it for when the sun isn't shining. 

Deeply unserious system. And environmentalists wonder why National is pursuing a fast-track consenting process that cuts all this crap out (along with potentially less unreasonable objections). 

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