Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Climate change: Locking in high emissions

In 2008, as part of its emissions trading scheme, the then-Labour government imposed a ten-year moratorium on new thermal electricity generation. One of National's first acts on gaining power was to repeal it. And today we're seeing the consequences of that repeal, with Todd Energy's announcement of a new 100 MW gas-fuelled power plant in Taranaki. Unlike Contact Energy's 200MW plant under construction at Stratford, the plant is not aimed at peaking, but at baseload generation - meaning it will run 24/7, spewing out carbon dioxide and damaging the climate. And it will do so for the next 25 - 30 years, meaning those emissions will be locked in as part of our emissions profile until 2040.

This is exactly what the thermal ban was supposed to prevent. But National's repeal has enabled this polluting behaviour, and made it that much harder to meet their target of 90% renewable generation by 2025. But then, with no policy to achieve it, Nationals' target was just hot air - and this proves it.