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Missed opportunity in energy fiasco

Missed opportunity in energy fiasco

Greenpeace today expressed disappointment that the Government missed the opportunity to lead New Zealand to a clean, renewable energy future in its reaction to the electricity crisis and has left the door open for more dirty old coal and its fossil fuel friends.

“The Government has missed the point,” said Vanessa Atkinson, Climate Campaigner for Greenpeace. “If we used wind power to its full capacity and complemented this with the existing hydro generation we’d be right as rain”.

“If the Government led the way in expanding the development of wind farms New Zealand wouldn’t have future dry year reserve problems. EECA has already assessed thirteen regions in New Zealand as being excellent for wind- power production,” pointed out Atkinson.

Greenpeace believes the Government has left the door wide open for more polluting coal and oil-based generation through the new Electricity Commission’s power to commission dry year reserve generation.

“It would be a huge mistake to entrench more fossil fuel plants as a source of electricity in New Zealand, either as reserve or for our baseline energy supply. Fossil fuels are not the answer.”

“This decision does nothing to address the fundamental issues of sustainable energy supply. The Government should have taken this opportunity to plan the decommissioning of coal, oil and gas-fired power plants and map out a switch to renewable energy sources”.

Climate change is caused by the release of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, trapping the sun’s energy. A major source of greenhouse gases is the burning of fossil fuels including coal, oil and gas. Coal releases the most carbon dioxide of all fossil fuels when burnt.

“The biggest irony in this decision is that the droughts which have caused low water levels in the hydro lakes and other extreme weather events are consistent with climate change predictions. Today’s Government decision has missed this point,” said Atkinson.

“Wind is free, it doesn’t pollute, it doesn’t destroy important conservation areas, it doesn’t need to be mined and transported, it doesn’t give off greenhouse gases - and New Zealand has it in abundance. Wind is the fuel of the future.”

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