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Climate change prompts new strategy from thermal

Climate change prompts new strategy from thermal generator

Recent events around the globe suggest that climate change is more than an academic theory; extreme weather events, melting ice caps and retreating glaciers all point to a real change in the global climate.

As New Zealand’s largest thermal generator, Genesis Energy is extremely aware of the effects of burning fossil fuels and its responsibility to the environment.

At the Climate Change and Us forum at Te Papa in Wellington on March 27, Genesis Energy’s Chief Executive Murray Jackson will unveil the company’s response to climate change and its strategy for reducing the carbon intensity of its business.

“Let’s not beat around the bush, although it is eclipsed by the transport and agricultural industries, Genesis Energy’s Huntly Power Station is one of the largest point sources of CO2 emissions in this country. However as a nation, we are not in a position to switch Huntly off or scale it back. Our long term strategy is to improve its efficiency and gradually increase our portfolio of high efficiency gas generation in conjunction with more wind and mini-hydro generation.

“We are working to meet the environmental and business challenges presented by the Kyoto Protocol and to turn those challenges into opportunities for the company and for New Zealand,” he said.

Following the review of the proposed Carbon Tax, Genesis Energy has been in detailed talks with government officials. The company takes the view that a tax or levy would simply pass through to customers and would not necessarily reduce carbon emissions. It proposes to work with government on a long term plan to reduce the intensity of carbon emissions from its electricity generation.

Genesis Energy is working on a three pronged response to climate change: increase generating efficiency; reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of our whole business; and work with customers and stakeholders to educate and improve their energy efficiency and management.

“Within that strategy we have to consider a number of crucial issues. For example, what will be Huntly’s role in New Zealand’s electricity supply system in the future? The challenge for the company is to balance climate change considerations against increasing energy demand,” Mr Jackson said.

Part of the company’s climate change strategy is the move to high efficiency gas and renewable energy projects. The Huntly energy efficiency enhancement project (e3p) is well underway with the 385MW combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) due for commissioning in December this year.

A new 360MW CCGT project has been announced for the Rodney district north of Auckland and the Awhitu Wind Farm project is also underway after resource consent was granted in December 2005.

Genesis Energy also works with customers on energy efficiency measures by providing information, tips and subsidised energy efficient products such as home insulation, energy efficient fridges and light bulbs.

As a first step towards helping our customers and stakeholders, Genesis Energy has signed an agreement with the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives – Australia/New Zealand (ICLEI-A/NZ) that will see both parties working together on local council initiatives to reduce greenhouse emissions.

The alliance between Genesis Energy and ICLEI – A/NZ will support the Communities for Climate Protection New Zealand programme, a New Zealand Government initiative delivered by ICLEI-A/NZ which works with local councils on energy efficiency and greenhouse emission programmes. Communities for Climate Protection is part of ICLEI’s International Cities for Climate ProtectionTM Campaign.

The Climate Change and Us forum is sponsored by Genesis Energy and was organised by the Victoria University of Wellington’s Institute of Policy Studies and School of Earth Sciences, and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability.

ENDS

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