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ELECTRIC LIGHT

WHAT ARE THE POSSIBILITIES?

INTERVIEW WITH ELECTRICAL ENGINEER. ' A FORMER NELSONIAN. It is a thousand pities that the question of electric light was not considered' when it was found necessary to erect a new gas-holder. It will be remembered that The Mail has frequently referred to this matter in the past. Undoubtedly the holder was necessary, if gas was.'to maintain undisputed sway in the town, but tho contention was that electric light should, if possible, havo relieved the over-taxed plant, and thus'giyo the town the oenetit of both gasland electricity. Still the question need not ibe lost sight of> for electric light "will come sooner or later, and the City Council even now is making certain inquiries. i'

BOUND TO COME.

A former Nelsonian, Mr H. Black, is at present on a visit to his native; city, and as he has had very. considerable experience in electric light under, takings, an Evening Mail representative took the opportunity of questioning him on the matter. Mr Black Was electrical engineer to the New Plymouth Borough Council from the ' inception ofthe scheme to a year or two, ago. Under his direction some £50,000 was spent in the scheme. "There is always room for gas and electric light in a town of any size," said Mr Black. "It is only a matter, of time. Electric light is bound to be -a reality in Nelson some < time or Other. The demand for it will increase to'- its advantages become known .and the people will have it. My reasons are firstly, convenience, electric- light •is mue'v handier. [Being-, able'to switch it'on.. ar/d off is a great boon, ipr of course it dbos away with all bother about ' matche;; and secondly it is much healthier. To v get the best results the fittings must beproperly arranged and installed.- -Any approach to a glaring light can bo avoided with ordinary care. And if y'»u, go in for electric light you have mpny other household conveniences as well. f For street lighting there is nothing to * compare with electric light. Besides the ease of turning on and off there iiiV questions of size and durability to be remembered. i . ■ . ; ■'•'. ; ,'\

QUESTION" .'OF COAL SUPPLY. ." "One has always to consider the local conditions, "and particularly tb>, coal supplv. Is it pood? Is it aubjnet to interruption? Is it in danger f>f running short? It is iindoubtely true that the coal supply of the. Dominion phould be conserved as much as' possible for purposes for which it is alone essorttial. On the other hand vast qualities of water arc running to waste. C'Jin these bo utilised '/to' 'advantage hereTaking New Zealand as a. whole, evc;vone who-, has gone into the questi-'m knows what vast possibilities are bofore water-power in this country. Lake Coleridge shows what can be done,;and the scheme is only in its infancy. ''Slill great quantities of coal have been flovo.d and other advantages .provided. ' .in Taranaki. with many "streams flowing from Mount Egmoht,"there have' been special opportunities for the generation of electric light by water-power. Potoa and Stratford wore the first towns 'to go in for electric light. Then followed Hawera. Inclewood, and lastly' Now Plymouth. The latter scheme - is/ now '.by far the largest. It has also the b<\?fc source of supply. Most of the otbf>r towns have had to go.in for Diesel engines to supplement the .water " whjMi owing to shortage in .c;ry weather l the power is not sufficient. NEW PLYMOUTH'S SCHEME. '

In New Plymouth, said Mr Black, the town's water supply in former years was obtained from the river and pumped up into a reservoir. -When I quirements of Jbhe town got. bey'ofid 4 this a gravitation' scheme was instituvi fid, hurt while this was being undertaken, I it was decided to go in for a small electric light scheme for street lightihg ! and enough private lighting to mnlco it pay. At first .the streete and the Town , Hall" were alone lit", by electric light. i Gradually consumers have beeiv added. ; and.- to-day St-'.is a large department 1 supplying'lighting and power j£o all , parts'oftthe town. Tho scheme has not cost the' ratepayers a penny, Itphaa el- f ways paid "interest and sinking 'fund', and at tho present time a considerable sum has .been written off for depreciation. All surplus revenue has bet'n used for capital 1 expenditure because tiro • works have been growing at BUdh a rapid pace. WATER-POWER. ;• In considering any electric .light scheme, said Mr Black, water, is the great thing, and there is nothing to compare with it provided it does not cost too much to develop'©. 'There are several streams • near Nelson any of which might bo utilised for the generation of electric power. Tho question to decide would be the •amount of power obtainable from each and the cost of development. These question's, especially the first, could best bo be answered by an engineer having local knowledge obtained from actual tests of minimum flow, taken during dry seasons. It is not necessary to engage an electrical engineer to obtain this preliminary data. The great advantage of Water-power is that there are no \ fuel'.costs, and in making comparison-it ! i« necessary to find out whether' tho interest'on tho extra cost of , hydraulic . i plant will show any considerable saving compared with the cost of iuol for any-other source of power. «' ■ '"''Coal and oil are practically the only available sources of power. At present ' :New Zealand is not .producing a Heady supply of oil, and tho price, independent 'of wjw conditions, shows a tendency to rise, so that oil can ,only be considered as an auxiliary mean 3of supplement, say, water-power at Mnies of extra demand or shortage of water due to dry weather. For ih» purpose it is bettor than coal, as it " instantly available for use for short periods." There is no delay in getting up steam. For this reason THesel; engines are frequently used to supplement wa-ter-power. , '. * < Coal may bo used in steam engine*, steam turbines, or "as power-gas. AH three are at present Vised im New Zeeland supply stations at tho present >tune. Water-power is ono of New Zea- A land's best assets. Tho Government M scheme of Lake Coleridge is'art ,illu»- ■ tration of wha't can be done, and is the ■ -tirst stage in supplying cheap lighting M and power for the .Dominion. *, Oth,or Rnurces of supply are under cdnsideralion to Auckland. Wellington, Hawke's Bay districts, and we may look forward to the time when these will all b« interconnected. Unfortunately, Nelson is outside any' of these areas, and will have to depend on, local effort .just a» Taranaki has done. The j coiintry around Nelson is decidedly '- hilly,; and H most of tho streams have • considerable fH fall, so that,some good sources of ,po>ver V ehould bo available, but what these Rro ■ can only bo learned by going-over the <Q ground and taking careful measure- ' ; nionts and te*ts. Often a bend invn river gives a chean and simple jneana; o.f obtaining..power from a river .or steam, •the station supplying power for r th©<Ha~ wera 'district, being a good illustration of 'this, although working, on a, 1 low bead. The greater th'o fall, of course, the greater the power obtainable from a' given quantity of water. ,

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Permanent link to this item

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Bibliographic details

ELECTRIC LIGHT, Nelson Evening Mail, Volume L, Issue 175, 29 September 1917

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1,209

ELECTRIC LIGHT Nelson Evening Mail, Volume L, Issue 175, 29 September 1917

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