There’s another flaw in the LabourGreen power play – it would threaten investment in renewable energy:
Labour and the Greens have jointly proposed scrapping the wholesale energy market in favour of a single state-operated buyer of electricity, called NZ Power, claiming the move would save hundreds of millions of dollars on consumer power bills.
Today Mark Binns, chief executive of Meridian Energy, told the commerce select committee that while a lack of detail meant it was hard to properly analyse the plan, Meridian believed it would favour thermal generation over renewable plants such as wind farms.
“Our view is it would potentially impact on renewables because it would make thermals, particularly gas plants – which are easier to consent and easier to put in place quickly – more viable in that environment,” Binns told MPs..
“If you have a central buyer, the Crown has the responsibility for deciding the next wind farm or other power that is required, and wind farms take between five and 10 years to consent.
“Why would we keep investing in developing renewable options, given the uncertainty around central buyer?
“The reality is it’s much easier for someone like Todd Energy to basically get a piece of land with gas to the front door, and strap on a jet engine to a lump of concrete and generate electricity.” . . .
Questions over the economic credibility of Labour and Green policies aren’t new but there’s more than a little irony in this very serious question over the environmental impact their power play would have.