Here’s Gerry Brownlee in the Herald today:
Brownlee said the [Whirinaki] power plant, near Napier, was intended as an emergency backup to be used seldomly in dry years.
But he said the figures – from use over 32 days in the three-month period – suggested otherwise.
“Its increased use is more evidence that Labour has failed to future-proof our energy sector’
No, Gerry, it’s not; it is evidence that the system is working as intended. Whirinaki is intended to ensure supply continues in dry years. We are in a dry year and the New Plymouth natural gas power plant at is off-line for upgrading. Whirinaki is running at well-under full power (2.3% of capacity in January, 6.5% in February) to cover the short-fall, just as it was intended to do.
Brownlee is also huffing that 7.6 million litres of diesel have been burnt this year by Whirinaki. But that is replacing gas that would have been burnt in New Plymouth. If the New Plymouth plant were operational, the Whirinaki plant would not be running (both are used as reserve but New Plymouth is used first by Contact as it’s own reserve and Whirinaki is the Electricity Commission’s back-stop reserve). Ironically, the Whirinaki plant is actually more fuel efficient than the old New Plymouth plant, so we may well be getting more bang for our buck (and more power per kg of carbon dioxide).
Brownlee is clueless on electricity, and he wants to be your Energy Minister come November.