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Meridian Energy Welcomes Carbon Tax Announcement

Meridian Energy Welcomes Carbon Tax Announcement

State-owned power generator and retailer Meridian Energy says the $15 per tonne carbon tax announced by the Convenor of the Ministerial Group on Climate Change Pete Hodgson makes New Zealand¹s renewable energy resources more valuable than ever.

And Meridian chief executive Keith Turner says the carbon tax will bring greater certainty to the planning for new electricity generation in this country.

³New Zealand has a tremendous advantage internationally in its renewable energy resources. Our renewable generation capacity is the cornerstone of our existing electricity supplies, and our untapped wind and hydro resources have the potential to meet the increases in this country¹s energy needs for the next 15 years or so.

³Our renewable potential means we don¹t have to rush into developing any carbon-emitting electricity generation. We have the luxury of leaving it to other countries who will be pressured by carbon taxes into developing and proving new technologies to clean up carbon emissions in coal or gas-fired generation plants.²

Dr Turner says premature investment in major thermal generation plant runs the risk of being superseded by new cleaner-burning technologies currently being developed which could make older plant uneconomic or obsolete.

³We have already seen the results of that kind of investment with the case of the Marsden B power station, which has been in mothballs since it was built. That is an experience this country cannot afford to repeat.²

Dr Turner says the announcement means it is now possible to quantify the impact of the carbon tax on the economics of any new energy developments.

³It is clear that the tax will introduce a price differential which will favour clean, non-polluting energy sources and it demonstrates the wisdom of Meridian¹s move to focus solely on development of renewable electricity resources such as wind, hydro and biomass.²

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