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Stand-by power must stand alone

Stand-by power must stand alone

The National Party is cautiously welcoming plans by Mighty River Power to resurrect the mothballed Marsden B power station.

"New Zealand desperately needs that extra 250 mega watt capacity, but it should only get the green light if it's to be run on a strictly commercial basis," says National Party Energy spokesman Gerry Brownlee, who visited the plant today.

"However, Mighty River Power should not hold out hope that the newly formed Electricity Commission will pay to keep the station in the condition that it has been in for the past two decades - mothballed.

"There's a real danger here, that commercial operators will take advantage of the Government's naïve scheme to pre-pay for reserve generation capacity in a dry year," says Mr Brownlee.

"There's a chance that Marsden B could now return a dividend care of the Government, despite the fact it hasn't been operational for more than 20 years.

"Put simply, householders paying the new electricity tax, could be coughing up to keep the station alive, even though it's unlikely to be used on a regular basis.

"Having said that, there is clearly a desperate need for extra generation capacity in a dry year," Mr Brownlee says.

"The pressure is now on the Resource Consent process, to ensure the commissioning of the power plant doesn't face undue delays because of layer upon layer of red tape.

"But it's just as important that the taxpayer does not end up subsidising an obsolete power plant that's barely being used," Mr Brownlee says.

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