Peering through the Huntly coal smokescreen

Energy Minister Simon Bridges revealed in Parliament this week he has no idea what majority state-owned power companies are up to, when he wrongly claimed that Genesis Energy would not burn coal at Huntly unless there was a shortage of renewable electricity. Was it ignorance or a smokescreen? Responding to Genesis Energy’s decision to backtrack […]

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Milk and coal in South Canterbury

This week, Fonterra’s application to expand its milk-drying factory and burn more coal at Studholme, in South Canterbury, is being put to the test. The local council is considering the application and hearing from people who’ve asked to make submissions. It might come as a surprise to many people that Fonterra is one of New […]

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Trillion dollars wasted on coal

Huntly Power station - New Zealand's last big coal-fired power plant

If you had a trillion dollars to spend on energy, would you invest it in burning coal for electricity? Well that’s exactly what is slated to happen internationally, according to a new report. The report, published by Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and CoalSwarm, explains that coal-generating capacity equal to 1,500 coal plants is either in […]

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The Old Economy is over, but National hasn’t got the memo

There are many shortcomings a committed climate hawk (of which, I am one) could find with the COP21 Paris agreement. There is no legally binding commitment to reduce climate pollution, for example. But the agreement is nonetheless a landmark event. All the countries of the world have signed up to an agreement to limit global […]

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Blueskin Bay: community wind

New Zealand is famed for its wind and it’s used to power our homes and businesses. Often wind electricity comes from large wind farms and huge turbines, but down south a community has worked together to produce their own power from the wind. Blueskin Bay Community Trust has applied for resource consent for their own […]

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Why a fair go for solar isn’t hot air

Geoff Simmons, who works with Gareth Morgan, has published a blog post about my Fair Go For Solar Bill. I welcome the debate. I hope tomorrow Peter Dunne will break the 60/60 vote tie in Parliament so we can continue the solar conversation and hear from all those involved around a select committee table. Simmons […]

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New technology and paying for power

The Electricity Authority (EA) has just issued a new consultation report on the implications of evolving technology for pricing of electricity distribution services, in other words how you pay for your local lines. This isn’t some far-away future: new technology like solar is already changing how we use and consume power and I welcome the […]

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Gareth Hughes’ solar tour highlights

blog_solar

I spent my parliamentary recess looking at roofs. Sounds like an Instagram account, I know. There was one thing that the Christchurch suburban bungalow roof; the fancy new-build in Karaka, Auckland roof; the Waikato dairy shed roof; and the Gisborne orchardists’ family home roof had in common – they all had solar photovoltaic (PV) panels […]

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Fair hearing for Denniston in Environment Court

Forest and Bird deserves every success in its Environment Court case to protect the distinctive coal measures ecosystems and landscapes of the Denniston Plateau. This week the Court began hearing the Society’s appeal against West Coast councils granting resource consents under the RMA to Australian miner, Bathurst Resources’ destructive plans for an open cast coal […]

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Insulation shambles needs sorting so Christchurch homes can be warmer, drier and healthier

Our houses help determine our health. Everyone has a right to a warm, dry and healthy home.  Warm homes can reduce respiratory illnesses and mean fewer days off sick from school or work, and fewer premature deaths among older persons. Much of our housing stock is not built for our climate. Around 1.6 million New […]

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Stratford public meeting: unanimous support for fracking moratorium from the frontlines

Last night I attended a public meeting in Stratford, Taranaki to discuss the local hydraulic fracturing or fracking occurring in the region. The community passed a unanimous motion to call on the Taranaki Councils to place an immediate moratorium on fracking, and to call for an independent inquiry into the process and what is occurring in Taranaki.

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The best way to oil independence is to provide alternatives and use less

The Ministry of Economic Development’s Briefing to the incoming Energy Minister predicts New Zealand could become a net exporter of petroleum by 2030 if new oil fields are developed. It’s a laudable goal to reduce our expensive dependence on foreign oil but it would be a lot smarter to invest in alternatives like better public transport, renewable electricity and sustainable alternative fuels.

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Energy Strategy to worsen Energy Outlook

The Ministry of Economic Development have released their Energy Outlook for New Zealand and it should be a wake-up call for the Government. The report projects New Zealand’s future energy supply, demand, prices and greenhouse gas emissions but the major challenges identified in it are at odds with the Governments ‘drill it, mine’ fossil-fuel-focused Energy Strategy.

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Boom times for oil and gas?

This morning’s  Dominion article about ‘boom times’ for the gas and oil exploration industry is an intriguing, even slightly funny, mix of boosterism, drum beating and dissimulation. The Chair of PEPANZ appears almost breathless with excitement as he seeks to fulfil the primary objective of his organisation, “to publicise, promote and advance the interests of […]

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How many jobs will oil and gas bring NZ?

On Tuesday the Government released the final version of its backwards-looking energy strategy. Of passing note is the removal of any overt reference to lignite coal.  Of course bioenergy could be code for it, or ‘alternative transport fuels’ (the Energy Outlook 2010 specifically cites lignite diesel as an alternative transport fuel with potential.) But basically […]

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Energy security and business

An interesting document has come out of Lloyd that reveals some of their thinking about energy security, and the risks and opportunities it provides for business.

Lloyds point out that 300 years of experience has given them a bit of an understanding of risk, and it is from that platform that they suggest that now is a really good time to get serious about finding ‘a new energy paradigm’.

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Mokihinui – Brownlee’s burp

So this week our Minister of Mining and Damming (aka Energy and Resources) let slip that the Mokihinui hydro-dam “would not go ahead”. Does he know something or was it just his ‘opinion’? Whatever the brain-burp was, he was ill-advised to say it but it’d be nice to think that there may be Moki fans in Government – perhaps they are closet readers of the 1400-fan facebook page!

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Love Wild Rivers? Give them your support

Cool. Today a new campaign has been launched for one of New Zealand’s most iconic features – our Wild Rivers. It’s great to see diverse groups – tree-huggers, deer-stalkers, bird-watchers, knobbly-kneed trampers, sharp-edged climbers, risky rafters, kool-kat kayakers, and angelic anglers – representing “over 100,000 New Zealanders” and united in seeking to protect wild rivers […]

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