Will the government please please please keep the lights on?

Barry Brill and I condemn the wilful political blindness that contemplates destroying our energy security and risking dry-year blackouts by shutting down the last thermal power plant merely to win polite applause from other nations. Meanwhile, those same nations are brazenly operating a gigantic fleet of 3700 coal-fired power plants and building another 1900.

The Huntly gas and coal-fired power station is NZ’s largest thermal generator. With its coal generation halved to 500 MW and total capacity including gas now 953 MW, or about 5000 GWh/year, Huntly can still provide about 12% of our annual consumption. Genesis intends to remove the remaining coal units by 2022, and there’s an uncertain future for the gas units since the Prime Minister, without consulting interested parties such as the industry or the electorate, banned gas exploration.

Are New Zealand politicians naive? Babes in the wood? Country yokels who don’t understand realpolitik? Continue Reading →