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Brownlee: Thermal Ban Repeal

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Brownlee: Thermal Ban Repeal

16 December 2008 - A Bill repealing the 10-year ban on building thermal power stations has been tabled in Parliament by Energy and Resources Minister Gerry Brownlee.

The Electricity (Renewable Preferences) Repeal Bill overturns what was widely known as the "thermal ban", which made it a criminal offence to construct new thermal power stations, including gas-fired plants.

"The government strongly supports renewable energy but a thermal ban now puts our security of supply at risk," said Mr Brownlee.

"Thermal generation, particularly from gas-fired generation, is the insurance card underpinning the security of our electricity system."

"The ban would only put additional strain on the sector, and last winter demonstrated the critical importance of gas-fired generation. At the time electricity from thermasl sources was generating over 50% of our electricity needs, " he said.

The government believes banning new baseload gas plants would actually create the perverse effect of encouraging the coal-fired station at Huntly to keep belching out CO2 emissions.

"Reducing carbon emissions in the electricity sector remains a goal, and renewable technology will be encouraged through the Emissions Trading Scheme," said Mr Brownlee.

"The ban was a misguided policy from the previous government. All the major power generators and line companies, as well other industry groups, expressed concerns and unease about it," he said.

"New Zealand cannot afford to have an insecure electricity supply. Our economic well-being, our growth prospects and our earning power depend on families and businesses knowing that they can rely on there being enough electricity for their needs," said Mr Brownlee.

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