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BP's solar savings swamped by petrol use

Green Party Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons has congratulated BP for its investment in solar power. However she cautioned that the annual global savings in greenhouse gases represent just 41/2 hours petrol use in New Zealand cars alone.

BP today opened New Zealand's first solar powered petrol station, next to Auckland's southern motorway. Solar cells on the roof of the station will run the lights and petrol pumps, meeting a third of the station's electricity needs.

"Solar energy is a sunrise industry which needs substantial investment to bring the price down and establish it as a commercial reality," Jeanette Fitzsimons said. "BP's investment is welcome and will bring the solar future a small step closer."

BP is hoping to save 3,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide with the opening of two hundred "plug in the sun" service stations in ten countries.

However Ms Fitzsimons said this was just a drop in the bucket compared to emissions from petrol fuelling the growing number of cars.

"New Zealand's motorcars alone put out 3,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every 41/2 hours. Or to put it another way, this global saving is negated by growth in petrol sales in New Zealand alone every 40 days.

"As well as exciting new developments in solar energy, we must develop policies to reduce our dependence on cars and to use them more efficiently. Better land use planning and public transport for Auckland would be a great start," Ms Fitzsimons said.

ENDS

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