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Climate ripe for extreme energy crisis

Gerry Brownlee MP National Energy Spokesman

28 January 2003

Climate ripe for extreme energy crisis

The National Party's Energy spokesman is warning of the potential for an extreme energy crisis as a war with Iraq looms.

"Our hydro lakes are currently at levels well below those seen in the lead-up to the most recent electricity crisis in 2001," Gerry Brownlee says.

"According to the Electricity Market's own figures, New Zealand's hydro lake storage is 750 gigawatt hours below those in 2001.

"Those same statistics show we're 400 gigawatt hours below average and 900 gigawatt hours under the point we were at the same time last year.

"The Energy Minister needs to give Kiwis an assurance that our thermal generators have the capacity to make up the shortfall.

"But the forecast could be even gloomier," according to Mr Brownlee.

"The price of gas to power those thermal generators is set to rise dramatically as the market comes to terms with the end of the Maui field in 2005.

"It's now become imperative for the Minister to reveal the most recent forecasts on the life of that field," says Mr Brownlee.

"And don't look to other fossil fuels to keep the country ticking over either, with the prospect of war in Iraq, petrol and diesel prices have been rising too.

"I urged the Minister to consider increasing our fossil fuel storage capacity last year, now when it's needed - it might be too late," Mr Brownlee concludes.


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