Mighty River Power has been granted resource consent for its plan to convert the mothballed Marsden B power station to coal. Note the "convert". Rather than using modern technology which is at least capable of burning coal relatively cleanly and efficiently, Mighty River will be using the original quarter-century old boilers, originally designed to burn oil, with a few scrubbers stuck on the exhaust. The result will be grossly inefficient - 34% compared with the 50%-plus for modern systems - as well as utterly filthy. Mighty River will be able to keep its costs low, but local residents will pay for it in lung cancer. I'm so glad I don't live in Whangarei.
OTOH, Mighty River doesn't have it that easy. The consent has almost 160 conditions on it, including harsh limits on emissions into Bream Bay designed to protect water quality. In particular, they're only being allowed to emit a twelth of the mercury they had asked for, which may be enough to sink the project right there. There will almost certainly be appeals from both sides, and we just have to hope that Mighty River loses.