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NZ relying on diesel generation in February

Gerry Brownlee MP
National Party Energy Spokesman

27 February 2008

NZ relying on diesel generation in February

National Party Energy spokesman Gerry Brownlee says the Government’s energy strategy is in turmoil, leaving Labour’s climate change strategy in tatters.

“It’s still summer, and stand-by generation capacity has been needed six times in February.”

Contact Energy has confirmed Whirinaki has burned around 1.15 million litres of diesel so far this February, on three occasions burning more than 200,000 litres of diesel each time.

“One of the Government’s new crown limos would do 14,375,000 kms on 1.15 million litres of diesel.

“It would take at least 2.87 hectares of mature pine trees to offset the carbon emissions from a car that did that sort of mileage.

“That generator was built after the dry year in 2003 and was supposed to cover us off in an unusual one-in-60 dry-year event. It’s five years later and it’s only February.”

Mr Brownlee says the Government’s failure to future-proof our energy infrastructure is having a significant impact on Labour’s ‘carbon neutral’ climate change targets.

“Burning diesel in such great quantities would appear to be at odds with climate change challenges.

“The Cook Strait cable repair job’s been put on the backburner for at least five years, maintenance issues have taken out other generators, the water temperature at Huntly has limited capacity there, and New Plymouth has closed due to asbestos.

“This leaves New Zealand precariously balanced, even if the recent rain swells the southern hydro-generation reservoirs. In any case, the Cook Strait cable is unable to handle the capacity required to secure North Island supplies in winter.”

Mr Brownlee says Labour set up the Electricity Commission bureaucracy to ensure New Zealanders enjoyed security of energy supply.

“The dismal record speaks for itself.”


Attached: Calculations – 1 page.


- Can produce 3500 MWh in a 24 four hour period (see Contact’s excel document);
- Can use 1 million litres of diesel in 24 hour period (Contact’s spokesperson)

In February to date it has been run six times.

On 1 February produced so 328 MWh so burned 93,712 litres
On 4 February produced 1513.9 MWh so burned 432,536 litres
On 18 February produced 754.95 MWh so burned 215,696
On 19 February produced 63.95 MWh so burned 18,271
On 21 February produced 722.75 MWh so burned 206,496
On 24 February produced 675.75 MWh so burned 193,068

Total burned is 1,159,779 litres.

Calculation of BMW kilometres and forest sink required for offset

Combined fuel consumption from 7.9 to 8.0 l/100 km
CO2 emissions from 210 to 212 g/km

To calculate what a BMW 730Ld would drive for 1L
100/8 = 12.5 km per L

1,150,000L * 12.5km = 14,375,000km

14,375,000km * 212g = 3,047,500,000g of CO2e = 3047.5 Tonnes

Pinus Radiata is 90% of NZ Forests. The Pinus Radiata emission (equivalent to capture) factor for Waikata/Taupo region as this contains the largest Radiata Plantation in Kaingaroa Forest which was planted as a state asset. We use figures for 40 year old trees as this is the age in which the trees reach their total height.

So 3047.5 Tonnes from 14,375,000km from 1,150,000L

X x Y = Z

X = area, Y = emission/capture factor, Z = emissions/capture in tonnes

X = ?, Y = 1061.4, Z = 3047.5 T

X = Z/Y
= 3047.5/1061.4
= 2.87 Ha of 40 year old Pinus Radiata in the Taupo/Waikato Regime

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