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More Short-Sighted Electricity Investment

More Short-Sighted Electricity Investment

Press Release from Sustainable Energy Forum Thursday 12th August 2004

More short-sighted electricity investment

"Today's announcement by Genesis Energy to go-ahead with the e3p gas turbine station at Huntly is one more step along an unsustainable business-as-usual road for New Zealand's energy future. Today's announcement further delays the necessary transition to an alternative way of thinking about energy supply and demand that is vital for the long term sustainability of energy in New Zealand" the convenor of the Sustainable energy Forum, John Blakeley, said today.

"The fact that the project has to be underwritten by the Government, in case it cannot access sufficient long term gas contracts to be sure of commercial viability, should be a clear signal that the technology of choice for gas-rich countries is no longer appropriate for New Zealand, which faces a shortfall in gas supplies within the next decade." he said.

"From the point of view of the emissions of greehouse gases causing climate change, combined cycle gas turbine stations are preferable to coal-fired stations. However, the philosophy of pouring more and more electricity into an overloaded grid to meet unconstrained demand growth is simply not sustainable indefinately. The sticking-plaster approach to increasing generation, combined with enhancing transmission capacity, shows no long term vision.

"The location of the proposed plant at Huntly, as with the selection of Whrinaki, in Hawkes Bay for the Government's reserve generation station, has more to do with minimising resource consent hassle then strategic geographic placement of capacity to solve regional supply issues.

"Eventually, New Zealand must develop a strategy to match demand and supply around the country and to live within its energy means by tackling the demand side issues in a serious way" said Mr Blakeley.

The Sustainable Energy Forum is an NGO with the objective of facilitating and supporting the use of energy for economic, environmental and social sustainability.

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