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There are better, Greener solutions to 400kV lines

27 April 2006

There are better, Greener solutions to 400kV lines

Transpower must give up on its misguided obsession with erecting 400kV transmission lines across the Waikato and focus on better alternatives, the Green Party says.

In a draft decision today the Electricity Commission turned down Transpower's plans to get electricity to Auckland by building a giant transmission line from Whakamaru to Otahuhu.

"This is good news for the Waikato people who have had the shadow of huge pylons and powerful electric fields hanging over them for more than a year," Green Party Co-Leader and Energy Spokesperson Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"In the face of the Commission's careful analysis, continued lobbying by Transpower for its preferred project is not appropriate."

Commission chair Roy Hemmingway has identified alternatives such as new power generation closer to Auckland and lowering electricity demand. He has warned that unless these measures are taken by the middle of the next decade the Whakamaru to Otahuhu line will be needed.

"There is no doubt that there are major efficiency improvements such as commercial lighting upgrades and more efficient electric motors that would lower power demand in Auckland and increase security of supply. The challenge is how to get them to happen, because they are not under Transpower's control."

Ms Fitzsimons led a series of meeting around the country last year outlining the Green Party's solution to the problem. This package includes energy efficiency upgrades, small-scale renewable generation close to the user, direct use of natural gas in Auckland homes and businesses, and use of waste wood for industrial co-generation and home heating in Auckland and Northland.

"I urge Mr Hemmingway to put the Commission's efforts now into investigating ways of ensuring the alternatives are implemented in time to ensure Auckland has a reliable electricity supply for the future."


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