Thursday, August 12, 2021

The real cost of Huntly

What's the real cost of the Huntly power station? 4 million tons of carbon dioxide a year:

Genesis Energy emitted more carbon dioxide in generating electricity last year than any year in the last decade, as it used more coal to make up for a lack of hydropower and gas.


The energy generator and retailer put out 4029 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in the last financial year, 82.5 percent more than the average of 2207 kilotonnes between 2016 and 2020, and more than any year dating back to at least 2010, as far as Genesis' publicly available statistics go.

This is about 5 percent of the country's total emissions.

At the government's internal valuation of $150 a ton, the social cost of those emissions is $600 million a year. Which makes it economic to spend that much a year on killing it to eliminate those emissions. At current costs, it is worthwhile for the government to do that with just three and a half years of emissions (versus 5 in my previous estimate).

Genesis could be part of this solution itself, but it refuses to be (wouldn't want that price to drop!) And their announcement today of large investments in grid connected solar is welcome, but also essentially PR window-dressing: a tiny fraction of what is needed to put Huntly out of business, and so clearly designed to keep it - and the windfall profits it generates - around for as long as possible. And again, if the market is not going to fix this problem, then it is clearly time for the government to step in and fix it for them.