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Kaipara station not the solution for Ak's energy

6 July 2005
Kaipara station not the solution for Auckland's energy

A new Kaipara gas-fired power station is a bad idea, says Greens Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons.

The $500 million Kaipara plant, proposed by state-owned Genesis Energy, is being touted as a way to delay Transpower's plan for running mega-pylons through the Waikato and avoiding firing up the mothballed Marsden B station on coal.

"We don't know if we have the natural gas to run a gas-fired power station in the Kaipara and if we did it should be sent down pipes and burnt directly in homes and businesses, rather than being wasted on making electricity," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"Genesis had to get the Government to underwrite a gas supply for its new Huntly gas-fired station because there are no guarantees that there is more gas to be found within New Zealand.

"The SOE acknowledges today that if a new supply cannot be found here, it would have to import Liquefied Natural Gas to run stations such as Kaipara. But LNG can only be imported by building a hugely expensive terminal to store the gas at minus-160 degrees. Such installations threaten large fires and explosions if they leak. And New Zealand cannot afford to become ever more dependent on imported fuels - our balance of payments cannot stand it and we will be left high and dry when oil and gas skyrocket in price.

"If more gas is found here, it would be better for Genesis to connect more Auckland homes and businesses to the reticulated gas system so that it is used as efficiently as possible. Burning gas to make electricity means at least half of the energy literally goes up in smoke. The last thing we should be doing is repeating the mistakes made with the Maui gas field and burning it off in double quick time. Frankly, the squandering of precious new gas reserves should simply be banned.

"The way to avoid mega-pylons is to tackle Auckland's growing energy demand through energy efficiency and greater use of renewables. A lot of small steps such as more direct use of gas, ensuring new buildings are energy smart and helping households get insulated so they stay cool in summer and warm in winter add up to sustainable solution. Smart thinking, not Think Big is the solution for Auckland," Ms Fitzsimons says.


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