Sustainable Development Essay

Last Updated: 27 Jul 2020
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The report looks at energy production dating back to the Maori cultures that used wood as their main energy source. When European settlers arrived in the early 19th century; wood was their main energy supply. Calculations were made on consumption; however monitoring was limited in early records. By the turn of the century coal was the primary energy source as Europeans had implemented knowledge of coal mining techniques. Labor intensive work was assisted with animals, Wind energy was also used as a purpose for sailing and natural water currents for logging on rivers.

In today's energy terms agreements are much higher as they relate to the supply of cities and nations. New Sealant's energy demands are growing as the population and energy demands are Increasing. There has been a 21% Increase In energy consumption between 1995 and 2005. During this time the population has grown by 8 percent. This growth has Increased demands for fossil fuel and the current countries supply cannot meet demands so more is imported from overseas. The transport sector is the fastest usage has seen an increase in ca emissions by 25 percent between 1995 and 2005.

Coal is a key provider of energy, supplying 7 percent of total energy. Coal mining has many adverse effects of the environment such as acid mine drainage (MAD) which has been over looked by government policies. Mining companies are investing in ways to remedial MAD issues and are working in conjunction with local councils and the government to improve mining environmental practices. Oil and gas supply in New Zealand is diminishing so imports are still very high. This runs the risk of disasters such as the Rena oil spill which will take many years to be resolved.

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Timber production has seen the majority of the native forest removed, there is approximately 0 percent of New Sealant's natural forest remaining. The ARM and MAP have implemented a resource consent process to protect the natural forest. Renewable energy technologies are growing in New Zealand as the reality of fossil fuel levels are diminishing. Further investment and research from government is on-going and future predictions of renewable supply looks promising. 2.

Introduction The purpose of this report is to discuss past and present energy production and environmental impacts energy production and consumption trends are having on New Sealant's sustainability and environment. The report will look at energy production and use examples to identify environmental impacts of energy production and consumption. The report will discuss the demand for fossil fuel imports that supply some of New Sealant's current energy demand, it also gives examples of the detrimental effects coal, oil and wood production are having on the environment.

This report will look at the responses to the negative effects energy production and its activities are having. Renewable resources will be discussed and information on their current status as electricity providers discussed. Finally the report will look at he effectiveness of initiatives which have been implemented to address the energy related environmental impacts of energy production. 3. Background New Zealand, over the years has used wood (timber), oil/gas and coal as the main sources for energy production.

The negative environmental effects of sourcing and retrieving these non-renewable resources are acid mine drainage (MAD) from coal production, the Rena oil spill from oil and gas production, and deforestation and sedimentation from wood (timber) production. Hydro-electrical, geothermal and wind power energy supply are three initiatives which have been implemented to address he energy related environmental impacts of energy production. 4. Discussion Energy use in New Zealand dates back to the early indigenous Maori cultures. Their primary energy source was from the burning of wood for heating and cooking.

They also used natural sources of energy such as wind power for sails to assist travel on rivers and the sea. Their early sources of energy and consumption had minimal impacts on the environment due to small populations and sustainable living. Settlers arrived the use of wood was the main source of heat along with candles and oil lamps which were fuelled from animal fats for light for their dwellings. The usage and consumption rate of wood is unknown as in the early 19th Century as there was little monitoring, however an attempt was made to calculate it in the midair's.

Historian Roll Arnold estimated around 3,000,000 tones of wood was used in 1885. Coal was mined from around the sass's as the European settlers brought more mining experience and by the turn of the century coal was New Sealant's primary energy source. (Cook, n. D). European settlers also used animals such as horses and bullocks for assisting with labor intensive work. Wind energy was used for sailing, with rivers and natural sea currents used for wood transportation.

Today's Energy consumption is measured as mega]louses (MS) or potables (PC) these measurements are at the larger scale and are related to the energy used in industry, cities and nations. For example: A year's supply of electricity to a city the size of Napier consumed nearly 430(PC) of energy, this is equivalent to almost 10 million tones of oil. (Redress, 1996. ) New Sealant's energy demands have increased as the population and the infrastructure has grown. Energy consumption between 1995 and 2005 increased by 21 %. New Sealant's economy grew with Gross Domestic Product (GAP) per capita increasing by nearly 18 %.

During the same period, New Sealant's total population increased by over 8 %. As the economy and population have continued to grow so has the demand for fossil fuels (Statistics New Zealand 1997-2005). With this increased growth New Zealand had to import more oil and gas products to meet these energy demands as the current supply cannot meet the demands of the consumer. During the period 1997-2005, New Sealant's demand for imported energy products, which were fossil fuels, increased by 48 % from 241( PC) to 356 (P]). Figure 1 : Shows consumer energy demand by fuel type for 2005 Figure 1: Sourced from http://www. Deed. Gobo. NZ/sectors-industries/energy/PDF-docs-library/energy-data-and- modeling/publications/energy-data-file/energetically-2011 . PDF Over half of New Sealant's energy demand is met by oil (51 %) the continued demand for fossil fuel, such as oil, gas and coal have increased the amount of greenhouse gases produced. Between 1995 and 2005 there was a 25 % increase in CA emissions in New Zealand. (Ministry for the environment n. D) The growing demand for energy production is a major issue for the environment and as the continued use of fossil fuels are detrimental to sustainable levels for the future.

The current demand for energy is increasing by two percent each year. Fossil fuels account for approximately 65 % of our total energy use. In 2010 the transport industry was responsible for 80% of the total oil consumption in New Zealand. This has increased from 40% in 1974 (Ministry of Economic Development. 2006). 4. 1 Coal Coal mining is one of the main energy sources in New Zealand and it currently mining areas are Waist, Tirana, Bullet and Greyhound. The demand for coal production for energy use and export has increased from 1400 tones in 1975 to 3. Million tones in 1995 (Cook, n. ). Coal production in recent years has increased as overseas demand from countries such as china and Japan are importing more. Coal mining production figures were approximately 5. 3 million tones of coal in 2010, of which over 2 million tones were exported. The low levels of water in hydroelectric lakes observed in recent years have seen coal being increasingly used to meet the surplus energy requirements. (Ministry of Economic Development . July 2011 . ). Acid mine drainage (MAD) is one of the most serious environmental issues from coal mining in New Zealand.

The majority of MAD effects are from coal producing regions in, the West Coast of the South Island (Pope, 2006). MAD is due to disturbances from mining that increase reactions between rock, water and oxygen which create acid discharge. This enters streams and rivers resulting in unnaturally low pH levels and potentially toxic levels of heavy metals. Abandoned mines are the worse contributors to this issue as structural failure of underground mine workings have led to subsidence, cracking and collapse. This causes the mine to flood with water causing run offs and rock seepage which pollute ground water, streams and rivers.

Barry, 1994). Remediation work to reduce Acid Mine Drainage is in progress but there has been very little funding for (MAD) remediation. Therefore, any efforts towards remediation are funded completely by the mining companies. The Resource Management Act 1991( ARM) has provided some management for the environmental impacts of mining however there are no discharge levels in place for MAD. (Black, 2005). Stockton mine is located in the Bullet district and is currently owned by Solid Energy. MAD has been an issue there for many years and they are implementing actions to reduce the effects.

Solid energy have in place active water treatment damns which allows for sediment to be treated with a secondary process of water treatment where coal contaminants are settled using chemicals. Further limestone treatment is included to raise pH levels; the water is then released into its natural water flow. Ongoing Water sampling has proven to have greatly reduced the acid discharge into the surrounding waterways. Solid Energy are working with local Council to monitor mining effects and have greatly improved there Environmental management approaches. Wright. 2009). 4. 2. Oil and gas The Mama gas and oil field off the Tirana coast was discovered in 1969 and was New Sealant's biggest oil and gas supplier. The gas was used to generate electricity, and some oil was converted into synthetic oil. By mid-2000 the Mama oil reserves had nearly diminished. In the mid to late sass's many small onshore and offshore fields had been found in Tirana. There are 21 oil and gas fields in the Tirana region the most important fields are Kaplan, Mama, Phosphor and Keep.

New Sealant's domestic oil production satisfies only 51% of the local demand for petrol, diesel and other products produced. Most of the remaining 49% is imported from the Middle East and Asia. (Ministry of Economic Development, July 2011) Oil and gas imports have their own effects on the environment such as oil spills and pollution caused by import methods. On Wednesday, 5 October 2011 the ship Rena containers, eight of which contained hazardous materials, as well as 1,700 tones of heavy fuel oil and 200 tones of marine diesel oil. Taylor, n. D)By Sunday, 9 October 2011, a 5 kilometer oil slick could be seen. Over the next coming days bad weather caused the ship to move on the reef resulting in more oil spilling into the sea. Oil began washing ashore at Mount Managing beach causing one of the worse oils spills to date in New Zealand. The environmental impacts have caused about 2,000 seabirds deaths, an estimate of 20,000 birds are thought to be victims of the oil spill through their ecosystem and food sources being contaminated (Backhouse, n. ) The Environmental cleanup is an ongoing process and will take many years to resolve. Maritime New Zealand leads the efforts to stabilize the stranded cargo ship Rena. Weather was an issue with stabilizing the wreck and the oils inside the tanker; forever Rena is slowly being cut up and removed from the reef by expert salvage teams. The local communities affected by the spill organized volunteer groups to clean up their beaches. The shipping company assisted with funding towards the projects involved.

The (ARM) are looking at pressing charges against the shipping company in the near future. 4. 3. Wood Energy (Timber) Timber has been used as a form of energy for thousands of years in the form of fire for heat and light. Prior to the arrival of the Maori people in New Zealand the land mass was covered in dense forest. Throughout the Manor's inhabitance prior to the European settler's arrival approximately 50 % of the original forest had been removed. With the arrival of the European settlers in the sass's wood was mainly used for building ships and for providing heat for homes.

In the mid sass's demand from overseas such as Australia saw exports rise, timber exports became a major industry for New Zealand. The rapid deforestation can be seen by the number of sawmill production sites. In 1843 there was only six operational sawmills, by 1868 there was ninety three. Today's wood energy contributes to approximately 5 % of total energy supply through households and business. With the increased knowledge of climate change people are being urged to use more wood energy products as reforestation can be seen as a sustainable step to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

New Zealand today has approximately 30 % of tree coverage, this helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions, however not as many trees are being planted as in recent years as economic and political factors have seen other energy products taking the higher ground. (Wood and climate change, n. D) Deforestation in some cases is inevitable as land is required for housing and farm land. The deforestation of land has many negative environmental effects which include; loss of habitat, sedimentation of sensitive water courses, and land instability. In many areas of New Zealand soil erosion has accelerated with large scale land clearance.

It is estimated that 5. 5 million hectares of land which was once forest has now been cleared for farming pasture. Reforestation has been proven to reduce soil erosion as the planting of trees reduce the water content in soils which also reduces the amount of water running into rivers which carry sediments and other contaminants from farming activities. The ARM is continuing to improve the environmental effects of deforestation by implementing resource consents. The removal of any natural resource now requires specific authorization under the ARM.

In addition to consent potential impacts on the environment and long term sustainability. There is also legal protection on logging of native trees which is controlled by the ministry of agriculture and forestry (MAP). (Environmental effects, n. D) 5. 0 Renewable Energy In the following sections 5. 0 to 5. 3 examples of initiatives which have been implemented to address the environmental impacts of energy production are discussed. Energy production in New Zealand from renewable resources is considered very high from a global perspective. This is because we have a large quantity of renewable resources at hand.

The electricity sector in New Zealand uses many renewable sources such as hydrophone, geothermal and wind power for electricity supply. On-going climate change and limited fossil fuel reserves are driving the increased use of renewable energy technologies to generate electricity. The use of wind energy is still relatively small but research and development is rapidly growing. New Zealand has also large quantities of wood biomass (wood which an be burnt with minimal carbon emissions, and can be replenished at a sustainable rate) and this is due to increase over the next decade. 5. Hydroelectricity Hydroelectricity has been a major contributor of energy to the electricity for many years. New Zealand generates approximately 50% of electricity from hydro dams. Hydroelectricity has a zero greenhouse gas emission output which makes it very efficient environmentally and as a natural resource. Hydro dams however can be subject to low levels of water due to minimal rainfall and unpredictable weather patterns, this can reduce supplies and so electricity has to be made up from other resources. Smaller hydroelectric projects are under way in rural areas where water or streams are running constantly.

The water flow can be piped and fed to a small turbine which generates the energy supply. The water used for the turbine can also be re-pumped back to the original source it came from. The process is seen to be increasing in smaller rural areas (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority. N. D). 5. 2 Geothermal Geothermal energy comes from heat from the earth's core. Groundwater is heated by naturally occurring pressured water and steam heated between 200 and 300 degrees. The high pressure hot water is separated into steam and the pressure is used to generate turbines.

The waste water is pumped back into the geothermal field to avoid any contamination as some contaminants are naturally occurring in geothermal pools. Geothermal energy is widely used in New Zealand; the majority of supply comes from the Taupe Volcanic Zone. Geothermal energy currently supply approximately 13 % of the country's demand. (Ministry of Economic Development. June 2012) 5. 3. Wind Power Wind power is the latest electricity power source in New Zealand. It is also the fastest total electricity generated that year. Wind power has grown since its inception in the sass's.

In 2012 wind power electricity generation was approximately 5 % of the total electricity in the country. (Wind energy, n. D) Wind power has some operational issues as location is the key to consistent power generation. However locations are often remote from power demanding areas making the electricity grid connection difficult and costly. The New Zealand wind energy association has predicted that by 2030 wind power will be providing 20 % of the country's electricity supply. Figure 2: Electricity Generation by Fuel Type for 2011 Figure 2 Sourced from http://www. Med. Opt. Z/sectors-industries/energy/energy-modeling/data/ renewable Figure 2 shows hydrophone is the largest electricity provider in 2011 with 57. 6%, geothermal and Wind power accounted for 17. 9% of the total electricity generation, Gas and coal-fired generation accounted for 23. 1% of generation. Other fuel types represented the remaining 1. 4%. 6. 0. Conclusions New Sealant's past history of energy usage has had some significant effects on our environment and long term sustainability. Although the Maori population was relatively small, the uses of natural resources were high due to deforestation for wood energy.

With the arrival of the Europeans and their knowledge of energy production saw mining and other techniques prosper. The environment continued to be effected as the population grew and the resource needs increased. Fossil fuel usage is still in high demand; the transport industry is the largest consumer of this resource. New Zealand is also importing more fuels to meet current demands which are having effects such as the Rena disaster which is still on going and will take many years for the environment to recover. The many renewable resources at hand in NZ makes us one of the leaders in the field of renewable energy production.

However soils fuel usage is still very high as is the demand for petroleum products. The countries production capabilities cannot supply the demand and so imported products continue to supply the surplus energy requirements. New Zealand export most of the high grade coals and petroleum products which should stay here in New Zealand, however the financial return takes precedence. The coal industry negative effects on the environment require more remediation, and control through government policies such as the ARM.

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