Monday, November 22, 2021

Good riddance

Its official: the Marsden Point refinery, source of more than 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year, will be closing down from April:

Refining NZ has confirmed its decision to close the Marsden Point oil refinery, which will shut down in April.

The company announced on Monday that its board had signed off on its transition to a business that will instead help distribute pre-refined fuels imported from overseas.

The closure will result in the loss of 240 of the company’s 310 jobs, though some of the displaced workers will be kept on for up to two years, a spokeswoman said.

The refinery was exempt from the ETS until recently, meaning we were effectively paying $300,000 a year for those jobs in carbon costs alone. Which is another way of saying that the social costs of this facility were enormous, and we are much better off without it. That's not to say we should abandon them - that subsidy would help a lot towards establishing clean new industries for them to work in, and the site and its consents could be used for biofuel or green hydrogen production (keeping in mind that hydrogen is a chemical feedstock, not a fuel, so would need to be paired with other chemical facilities to use it). But as for petroleum refining, its over in Aotearoa, and good riddance to it.

As for those worried about "security of supply", they should all be pushing for electrifying transport as quickly as possible. Because we make our electrons domesticly and cleanly, rather than importing them from unstable parts of the world in a way which is a constant risk of environmental disaster. Dependence on imported energy has simply given us instability and risk. This is an opportunity to free ourselves of that forever.