National’s Energy Policy

Now letThree documents on this. The speech by John Key, the press release by Gerry Brownlee and the 11 page policy document. Key aspects:

  • Plan for realistic levels of future demand growth, because running out of electricity is a risk we are not prepared to take (Labour is saying growth will be only 1.2% despite historial average of 2.2%)
  • Introduce priority consenting for some large projects
  • Reverse the ban on new base-load thermal power stations
  • Consider abolishing the Electricity Commission (has been mega expensive)
  • Introduce an Emissions Trading Scheme within nine months of taking office
  • Support a target of 90% renewables for new energy projects, but not at the expense of security of supply
  • Expect no new coal stations unless technologies emerge for carbon capture and storage
  • Introduce a $1,000 per household solar water heating grant and simply consent rules for solar power
  • Invest $25m in seismic exploration over next three years to tap the potential 24 billion barrels of oil equivalent we have

Now let’s look at thermal generation in more detail. 75% of new generation under Labour has been thermal. To pretend you can go from 75% to 0% overnight is nuts. Even Labour sort of know this, and have left wriggle room – their ban is more of a slogan.

The Dom Post reports a leading energy lawyer saying the ban probably would have to abandoned by Labour after the election.

I think everyone agrees the long-term future is renewables, but it will take a while to get there. And the consenting process for hydro takes so long a ban on thermal will see shortages. Just look at this ODT story about David Parker saying no to any more hydro dams on the Clutha. I love wind power but wind alone is not a secure supply. We need more hydro, and until we get that hydro we will need more thermal.

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