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Pylon opponents welcome suspension

Pylon opponents welcome suspension

The Electricity Commission’s decision today to suspend consideration of Transpower’s proposed 400kV line through the Waikato has been welcomed by the lobby group opposing the plan for 70 metre high pylons through the Waikato.

“This effective withdrawal by Transpower of their controversial proposal for 70 metre pylons through the Waikato shows that even Transpower thinks this pylon line was a dumb idea in the first place”, said Bob McQueen, spokesperson for New Era Energy.

The Electricity Commission interim decision to say “no” to Transpower on April 27 turned down the 400kV proposal as uneconomic, when compared to four other more cost-effective alternatives for upgrading transmission capacity into Auckland. The Electricity Commission’s public consultation on the interim decision was originally to finish with a final decision late in July, but this consultation process seems now to have been terminated as a result of a request to effectively withdraw the proposal by Transpower.

The key to a long term economic and reliable electricity supply for Auckland lies in the construction of new technology thermal generation facilities in or north of the Auckland region, rather than overbuilding the national grid with outdated pylon technology to bring South Island hydro generated power north over huge distances. “This is a generation problem, not a transmission problem”, says Bob McQueen. “The limited water storage in the southern hydro lakes means that Auckland should not have to continue to rely on rainfall-dependant hydro generation at the end of a fragile 1000 kilometer transmission line. Auckland should be demanding its own secure generation capacity close at hand, and the Government should be acting to encourage urgent construction of at least one or more of the four proposals for new thermal generation plants in or north of Auckland that were announced last year. More generation in the Auckland region is what will keep Auckland’s lights on, not Transpower’s deeply flawed 400kV proposal.”

“Transpower has an important role to play in the building of a cost effective and reliable electricity system” says Bob McQueen. “However, the present free-spending, confrontational Transpower corporate culture of ‘we know best - get out of the way!’ must change to a more consultative and economically prudent approach which balances transmission and local generation. The debacle over Transpower continuing to spend tens of millions of public dollars developing this flawed transmission-based proposal and its variants must come to an end immediately.”


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