Monday, March 29, 2004

Project Aqua is dead

This is probably the best decision, since it was a fairly dumb idea to begin with. Hydro is something you use for storage, not for flow-through generation. At the same time, it does still leave is with the problem of having to meet increased demand for electricity.

Guess Meridian will just have to start building windfarms...

Update: I see that the great RMA whinge has started already. And United Future's Gordon Copeland seems to think that Aqua included plans for a time-tunneling power cable which would bring us electricity from the future - that's the only way I can explain his comment that the project's demise creates the risk of "an electricity supply-and-demand gap in just three years".

Contrary to Copeland's hysteria (and that displayed on One News tonight), Aqua's cancellation does not mean the end of the New Zealand economy as we know it. We will simply build something else. The insane cheapness of Aqua - 4.5 c/kWh, rather than the 6 c/kWh or more of other proposals - caused its competitors to shelve their plans for new generating capacity. Now that Aqua is down the gurgler, they'll be dusting off those plans, rechecking the numbers, and starting the ball rolling again. Expect to see announcements in about six months.