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Government Emits Hypocrisy: Animal Gas and Polluting Power versus Eco-Friendly Winds

Auckland, 16 July 2003. Greenpeace today hammered Government hypocrisy at the treatment of different winds: a levy for foul farming flatulence, support for a greenhouse gas generation plant and woeful will toward windfarms.

SOE Minister Mark Burton and Finance Minister Michael Cullen have reportedly agreed to a “full investigation that the Crown effectively underwrite the development” of Genesis’ proposed 400MW gas power plant at Huntly Power Station.

“The Government is quite rightly imposing a methane levy on the farming industry so they share the responsibility for the climate changing gases the sector produces. However, it is grossly hypocritical for the Government to then agree to underwrite climate change in the form of a 400MW greenhouse gas emitting power plant. The Government is taking from climate polluters on the one hand but giving to climate polluters on the other,” said climate campaigner Vanessa Atkinson.

If the $400-$500 million that Genesis wants to invest in generating 400MW is put into wind farms, it could conservatively finance 500 - 625 of wind turbines generating 500kW each - a total of 250 - 312MW*. The economics would likely be even better with larger 1MW turbines.

The recent Greenpeace report Winds of Change, outlined ways to drive renewable energy development with mandatory renewable energy targets, market changes and incentives. Implementing these recommendations would allow wind farms to compete with gas, and with zero carbon emissions. Set up times for gas or wind projects would be comparable.

“On the same day that Genesis asks for special treatment for more polluting power, UK Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt announced a huge wind farm development expansion that could see wind turbines powering one in six households by 2010.”

“While there has been a lot of hot air around Helen Clark’s meetings with Tony Blair this week, we hope he emphasized their recent concrete commitments to renewable energy.”

“The real problem in New Zealand is that there is no long term Government strategy to direct the electricity sector away from fossil fuels and to renewable energy. The ‘incremental steps to sustainability’ that Pete Hodgson prefers, are clearly being overridden by the growth of the fossil fuel sector, and the Government is adding to the problem,” concluded Atkinson.

For more information contact: Communications Officer Dean Baigent-Mercer on 021 790 817 or campaigner Vanessa Atkinson on 021 565 165.

*These figures are based on Windflow's conservative estimates for the full installation costs including roads etc for a 500kW wind turbine at $800,000.

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