Don’t extend polluting Huntly power station!

Written By: - Date published: 11:09 am, March 21st, 2016 - 134 comments
Categories: climate change, energy, global warming - Tags: , , ,

This is bad news:

Huntly coal, gas plants could live on

The odds are growing that two fossil fuel power plants at Huntly will have their life expectancy extended.

The 500-megawatt units were scheduled for closure in 2018 in an announcement made last year. But they are now looking more likely to stay open for a year or two longer and possibly until 2025.

When Genesis Energy originally announced the closure, it said the units’ fixed costs were too high and their usage too low to be economically worthwhile. This decision was praised by environmentalists because the plants burnt coal as well as gas to generate electricity.

But several big power companies argued closing them down could leave New Zealand short of electricity in 2019 and began asking Genesis to consider reversing the closure decision. …

Read on in the original article for the economic argument for extending the lifetime of Huntly.

And then remember that we’re currently shattering all temperature records, and that there is no economy without the environment. You can sign the petition to #ShutHuntlyCoal here.


134 comments on “Don’t extend polluting Huntly power station!”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    “And then remember that we’re currently shattering all temperature records, and that there is no economy without the environment. ”

    And then remember that this particular plant continuing to run for a few extra years will not make a jot of difference to those global warming outcomes in the short or long term, but if it ceases operation it could by itself make a rather large negative impact on the New Zealand economy in the short-term. This may be an unpleasant truth, but it is the truth none-the-less.

    Just pays to look at the full picture when you’re making decisions about these sorts of things, not just the the small slice of the picture that some might want you to consider.

    • r0b 1.1

      Everyone who wants to keep polluting makes exactly the same argument. Individually they are all correct. Collectively, well, here we are.

      • adam 1.1.1

        I agree with both of you, Lanthanide and r0b.

        This is just another example of top down decision making.

        We would call it all a comedy if the impact was not happening to peoples lives and well being.

        If workers were brought into these discussion, and asked about how best to do this, I think we would find a way out of this mess. I think the call to close the power station would have been done with some real planning and foresight.

        Instead it’s the same old suits and ties, making the same mistakes over and over. We get a power shortage, with no thinking about ways to diversify. So we go back to lazy option.

        It’s time to move past out dated capitalist models for the core infrastructure management and it’s day to day running. The board member model is short sited, and just lacking the brain power needed to save the earth.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1

          Instead it’s the same old suits and ties, making the same mistakes over and over. We get a power shortage, with no thinking about ways to diversify. So we go back to lazy option.

          QFT

      • Lanthanide 1.1.2

        Sure, power-down.

        But power-down at *any* cost, without adequate alternatives in place? No.

        • I agree with you. That’s why we should be building more renewable generation, especially as we want to be having infrastructure and policies that will be friendly to a transition to electric cars.

          We should stop generating using the coal plants as soon as is practical, and then actually decommission them fully once we’re confident we’ve set up their replacement strategy adequately.

      • AB 1.1.3

        Exactly – what on an individual level seems like a rational decision, if multiplied many times over, isn’t.
        But if you have no notion of collective responsibility for each other, then such a simple truth is invisible to you.

    • Ad 1.2

      The network stress is all about Auckland’s growth.

      Shutting Otahuhu gas is one thing, shutting the baseload at Huntly another.

      Still no certainty Tiwai Point will close, and enable redistribution from the south.

      It would also close Huntly as a town.

      I’d like assurance my electric trains will keep running.

      Where the hell is the Electricity Commission? Asleep?

      • Ad 1.2.1

        Total market failure.

      • saveNZ 1.2.2

        Electricity commission black out?

        Don’t forget, the electricity commission seems to feel solar is somehow a problem for power companies, so don’t think we will get any blue sky thinking out of that institution.

      • TC 1.2.3

        Checkout the board of the commission and wonder no more. An Ex nat mp and other neolib troughers and spin doctors.

      • Sure, Huntly should still have a power station.

        It should just be a renewable one. Solar would certainly be one idea. It could also have a few different stations that provide enough jobs to replace the coal station. That seems perfectly fair.

        • BM 1.2.4.1

          Clean coal.

          Do you know that Huntly has the capacity to supply 20% of New Zealands power.

          • Macro 1.2.4.1.1

            clean coal!

            LOL

            • BM 1.2.4.1.1.1

              No Lols here.

              I reckon NZ needs to start using the resources that we’ve got and we’ve got plenty of coal.

              There is a reason why the Huntly power station was built were it was, we need to take advantage of it.

              With new technology available to keep pollution to a bare minimum we’d be fools not to go the coal route.

              • Macro

                Yes it was built on the bank of the Waikato so that the river water could cool the condensers.
                We have ample wind and solar capability and there is enough wind power already consented to replace Huntly twice over. All the bullshit about needing back up is simply bullshit. We have it already in hydro. What happens is simply this – when wind and solar are active you reduce the draw down from Hydro. Hydro acts as the battery for times when wind and solar are not producing. Actually NZ has a very high capacity for wind probably more so than any other country in the world. There is not someplace in NZ where there it is not blowing at some time. NZ has the capacity to be 100% renewable and in a very short space of time – it only requires a government committed to action.

                • BM

                  I’d use Huntly to power the NZ electric car fleet.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    That’s because you’re a fucken moron. Cars are uneconomic and we’re really not going to be keeping them.

                    • BM

                      You’re a delusional fuckwit who lives in some bizarre fantasy world.

                    • Richard McGrath

                      Cars are uneconomic? Is that why NZ has so many per capita?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Cars are uneconomic?

                      Yes.

                      Is that why NZ has so many per capita?

                      No. We have so many cars per capita because fuckwit governments have promoted and built for the use of cars rather than public transport.

                    • Richard McGrath

                      Cars are “uneconomic”? You’d prefer people were packed into smelly overcrowded trains and buses that only stop where they want to stop, not where you’d like them to stop? No thanks, I like my car and bike. I enjoy the freedom that comes with private transport.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      You’d prefer people were packed into smelly overcrowded trains and buses that only stop where they want to stop, not where you’d like them to stop?

                      You keep coming up with this BS about being packed into smelly buses and trains. And it is BS because it proves two points:

                      1. That people actually want to use public transport and
                      2. It’s not smelly or particularly cramped for that matter so that is an outright lie from you.

                      I enjoy the freedom that comes with private transport.

                      Well, that’s the thing. Private cars are uneconomic and thus we can’t actually afford for you to have one – no matter how much income you have. Oh, that’s right, we can’t afford the rich either.

                      And you should have noted that I didn’t say anything about bicycles being uneconomic. This is because all indications are that they are economic.

                      So, there you go, you can still have private transport. It’ll even help keep you fit while also being a rather pleasant experience.

                  • maui

                    Then he said wanted to run electric cars off coal 🙄

                • David

                  If you have hydro as full backup for your wind and solar, you don’t need wind and solar.

                  • Macro

                    You do if you want to increase your capacity – hydro has to be conserved or you run the lakes dry. So it makes sense to have wind and solar in addition to hydro and then use the hydro as back up.

                • Chuck

                  Your are correct Macro, NZ has pretty much the best profile in the world for wind power. BUT it is no way considered to be able to supply “base load”. BM is also correct in there are ways to use coal, and be pretty much emission free. 100% renewable…yes its possible but the mix has to be correct.

                  Draco T B does live in a dream world, he sees no requirement for air planes nor shipping (other than back to sail ships). Thats NZ stuffed and every other trading nation in the world!!

                  • Macro

                    I never suggested that wind and solar would supply the base load. That must always be hydro. But the wind and solar reduce the draw down on the lakes so that at peak loads you can afford to run hydro to cover and not have to rely on thermal stations to cover the peaks.

              • Draco T Bastard

                I reckon NZ needs to start using the resources that we’ve got and we’ve got plenty of coal.

                Typical, unsustainable RWNJ thinking: Lets use up all of the resources now, now, now. That way we can make lots of money.

                They really don’t seem to realise that once all the resources are gone there’s no wealth left.

                Yes, there are better things to use the coal for than burning it that don’t contribute to global warming.

  2. saveNZ 2

    Two words, solar power.

    All new houses should have it, and the sooner the better. Then we will not need these old polluting dinosaurs like Hunty!

    It also means when we have power outages then, people and companies can cope better!

    Not sure power companies are going to like that idea though!

    • McFlock 2.1

      lol

      The power outages thing is fine for aucklanders with their dodgy supply, but what about the civilised South? 😛

    • Lanthanide 2.2

      Unless you’re planning for all houses to have enough battery backup to supply their own needs to 100% (even including 2-3 cloudy stretches which aren’t impossible in this country), then you’re going to need some sort of electricity grid to make up the shortfall, whether that’s a national one or regional or community. This is very likely going to result in ‘power companies’ existing in some form or another.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1

        Well, the logical solution is a government owned and run Smart Grid. No private companies and no profit involved.

        • TC 2.2.1.1

          Yup remove billions in duplicated systems, management, regulatory oversight, audit costs etc.

          jokes on nz with the bradford reforms lining pockets and creating a dysfunctional structure.

          • Macro 2.2.1.1.1

            Exactly!
            Britain invested thousands of bombs aircraft and men in an attempt to destroy the electrical industry of Germany – we destroyed ours, by selling it off overseas.

    • Kelly-Ned 2.3

      And what about the pollution caused during the manufacture of the solar panels? Is that less or more than using coal in efficient power stations?

    • Richard McGrath 2.4

      Solar is still expensive; fossil fuels are much cheaper, more reliable and associated with higher living standards

  3. BM 3

    I reckon it would be better investing in coal upgrading technology

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal_upgrading_technology

    Keeps both the Huntly mines and the power station open.

    We need power and Huntly needs the jobs.

    • saveNZ 3.1

      @ BM – yep keep those profits going to Genesis with upgrading coal – no wonder we don’t have a carbon tax and just pretend to not pollute.

      How about saving Kiwis money by solar power and at the same time have less centralisation of power?

      It’s all the same mistakes. Fonterra with it’s coal fired milk drying in 2016! Fonterra not doing too well either, with refusing to move with the times.

    • Lanthanide 3.2

      I wasn’t aware of this technology, thanks for the link.

      • BM 3.2.1

        All the coal in NZ is very young, which means it’s got quite a bit of moisture in it and doesn’t burn very clean.

        Up grade the coal at Huntly and we’d have so much power producing capacity we could start to seriously look at a nation wide electric car fleet.

        Bit of minor pollution with coal vs 100,000 petrol powered cars off the roads.

        Which scenario is better for the environment and NZ?

        • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1

          Up grade the coal at Huntly and we’d have so much power producing capacity we could start to seriously look at a nation wide electric car fleet.

          If we were being economic about it we’d be getting rid of cars.

          • BM 3.2.1.1.1

            Why?, electric self drive cars are the future.

            • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1.1.1

              No, they’re the past.

              Cars are uneconomic as they use more resources to achieve the same end as public transport (which is actually proof that the profit drive produces uneconomic results and thus is proof of the failure of capitalism).

              • Richard McGrath

                Do you have an economic analysis to “prove” this? Will it include the cost of all the lost opportunities for research, development and capital investment in private transport that result from taxation used to fund public transport?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Do you have an economic analysis to “prove” this?

                  Basic logic.

                  To move 60 people the same distance:

                  By car per person:
                  1. One tonne of car
                  2. ~6 square metres of road
                  3. 1 fuel each person moved
                  4. One driver (the person being moved)

                  * 60 = :
                  1. 60 tonnes of car
                  2. ~360 square metres of road
                  3. 7.5 litres/100km/person
                  4. 60 drivers

                  By bus per person:
                  1. Bus massing 20 tonnes = 0.33 tonnes
                  2. 30 square metres of road = 0.5 square metres
                  3. 0.68 litres/100km/person
                  4. 1 Driver (this allows the other 60 people to, you know, do stuff other than driving)

                  We can also put it this way:
                  1. Bus = $400, 000
                  2. 60 cars = $1.2 million (est. average price of 20k)

                  Don’t really need an economic analysis for those sorts of figures. Just some fucken sense.

                  • Richard McGrath

                    You make the mistake of reducing humans to unthinking cattle and figuring out the cheapest way of transporting them. Actually, could you give us the figures for carting people around in cattle trucks? That might be cheaper still.

                    You omit the very important lost opportunity costs when people are packed together into buses and trains which only stop at certain designated geographical points.

                    You also assume only 1 person per car. If 3 people are in a car, the costs of car and bus are equal. If 5 people ride in a car, that’s only 12 cars or $240k, which is way cheaper than the $400k of the bus.

                    How’s that for “fucken sense”?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      You make the mistake of reducing humans to unthinking cattle and figuring out the cheapest way of transporting them.

                      No I don’t so what you’re doing here is trying distract from the fact that you don’t have a point.

                      You omit the very important lost opportunity costs when people are packed together into buses and trains which only stop at certain designated geographical points.

                      No I don’t because there aren’t any.

                      You also assume only 1 person per car.

                      The average during rush hour is slightly over 1 so I feel that one was good enough.

                      How’s that for “fucken sense”?

                      Nonsensical. In fact, I’d call it grasping at straws.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Oh, forgot to mention that the bus can carry more than 60. Most carry 70 plus.

            • Li 3.2.1.1.1.2

              Electric is. That doesn’t mean cars are.

            • Magisterium 3.2.1.1.1.3

              BM:

              electric self drive cars are the future

              Not everyone will need to own one though. If I can tap a button on my iphone and have an electric self-driving car from the local fleet outside my door in 5 minutes ready to take me wherever I want to go, I don’t need to own a car. Get some decent Google-style big data behind it and the network will know exactly how many cars need to be in which neighbourhoods at what times of which days.

        • maui 3.2.1.2

          Coal on the West coast is high quality as its exported and used for steel making, I thought that mean it would burn very clean?

          Having electric cars running off coal defeats the purpose. In a country that already has 80% renewable generation it really makes no sense.

          • BM 3.2.1.2.1

            What produces more pollution,100,000 petrol cars or a coal plant with clean burning coal plus any other pollution reducing technology which is currently available.?

            Thing is you can then swap out the coal fired generators for other power sources such as fusion when that technology becomes available.

            • Li 3.2.1.2.1.1

              clean burning coal is an oxymoron and it makes you look like a moron.

              • Chuck

                You don’t burn coal, there are other ways to extract the “goodies” from coal that do not produce emissions from the process. In a few years time they will be main stream in countries that don’t have “easy options for renewables”.

                NZ is very lucky in our renewable options, most other countries are not.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.3

      Would be much better if the government built a solar panel production process from all NZ resources. That would supply more jobs, require lots of R&D and supply the power that we need*.

      * Please note, we don’t actually need the increased power for another few years so we have plenty of time to get the production process going.

    • Macro 3.4

      BM did you take time to READ the warning on that link?

      Multiple issues….
      Major contributor conflict of interest….. (I wonder who that could be? Funded by a coal company by any chance?)

      There is no such thing as clean coal.
      Furthermore it is the major contributor to GHGs
      China is decommissioning Coal Plants by the 100s – we can’t even manage 1.
      http://cleantechnica.com/2015/03/21/for-every-new-coal-plant-being-built-two-are-being-cancelled/

    • Lloyd 3.5

      Electrify the Auckland-Hamilton railway line and put on a decent commuter service and there would be plenty of jobs in Huntly building houses.

  4. Chuck 4

    Solar is good and plays a part in the mix. But it has limitations, the big one is being able to supply base load on demand. Battery tech for commercial systems is improving, but at the moment its limited to smoothing out the curve over approx. hour. In NZ we rely on hydro and then plants like Huntly as “last resort” if say hydro lake levels are suffering during a dry period. In a nutshell we need Huntly as an insurance policy for the time being.

    In the near future it will be possible to use Bio – fuels to run a plant like Huntly.

    • saveNZ 4.1

      Another two words, wind power.

      • weka 4.1.1

        The two words we really need to pay attention to are ‘use less’. And finite world.

        • saveNZ 4.1.1.1

          Ah but that is against capitalism and neoliberalism Weka:) It is all about consumption under the current ideology.

          • weka 4.1.1.1.1

            I’ll put the laws of physics (and nature) up against capitalism any time 😉 What’s really up for debate here is how stupid are we that we can change now with resources available to make that relatively manageable but instead we are choosing to grasp at the illusion that the laws of physics don’t exist and that we can keep growing indefinitely.

            How embarassing that in 2016 we’re still arguing over whether to keep a coal plant open.

          • Richard McGrath 4.1.1.1.2

            You appear to have no idea how free market capitalism works. It’s not all about consumption; more about supply, demand, profits, incentives, and above all voluntary interaction and the freedom to act and trade peacefully.

        • corokia 4.1.1.2

          +100 weka!

        • Lanthanide 4.1.1.3

          +1

    • Lanthanide 4.2

      “In the near future it will be possible to use Bio – fuels to run a plant like Huntly.”

      I think it’d take a large refit or upgrade in order to convert a solid fuel plant into a liquid fuels (which biofuels typically are). That cost, amortised over future running costs, instantly makes it difficult for biofuel to come out as cost competitive.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.3

      But it has limitations, the big one is being able to supply base load on demand.

      That’s why we have those really big dams.

      In NZ we rely on hydro and then plants like Huntly as “last resort” if say hydro lake levels are suffering during a dry period.

      You’ve actually got that backwards. Fuel burning generators take a while to get up to speed and thus are terrible covering spikes. Hydro, on the other hand, take a couple of seconds to respond.

      In a nutshell we need Huntly as an insurance policy for the time being.

      Wrong again. Note those disadvantages that you mentioned about solar? Well, one of those ‘disadvantages’ is that they generate power even when it’s not needed. We could use that power to pump water back uphill and into the dams. This would mean that the dams would be the ‘batteries’ that we need to get over peak time spikes.

      In the near future it will be possible to use Bio – fuels to run a plant like Huntly.

      Why would you do something so stupid as to use bio-fuels for generating electricity when we have so much wind, solar and hydro power available?

      • Chuck 4.3.1

        Big dams yes, that during a dry period are a problem.

        If say Huntly is required, it will be known in advance (low lake levels) so planned start ups are easily done.

        Interesting idea to use Solar to power pumps to resupply water in the dams. Has anyone done a viability study or costings? I would guess cost and resource consent issues (re direct the water) would present a problem.

        Wind, Solar are good when the wind blows and the sun shines. Hydro is constrained by how many locations are suitable (and drought). Geothermal has its merits, and the best use for bio-fuels would be for transport and not electricity as I mentioned above. But is could be used if required, in the form of syn-gas produced from the bio-mass.

        • Draco T Bastard 4.3.1.1

          Big dams yes, that during a dry period are a problem.

          Not a problem once we have more wind and solar up. It’s the combination that makes renewables work. You really can’t just have one or the other – you need all three.

          Wind, Solar are good when the wind blows and the sun shines.

          The wind blows and the sun shines right across the country 24/7. With renewables we’re looking at distributed generation and not centralised generation.

          and the best use for bio-fuels would be for transport and not electricity as I mentioned above.

          The best thing to do with bio-fuels is not require them.

          • McFlock 4.3.1.1.1

            well, the sun doesn’t shine 24/7 for a start 🙂

            But I assume that the combination of drought, even winter drought, and heavily overcast skies would be quite rate, so solar might complement hydro capacity. Some wave and wind generation would also be useful.

            As always, the logistical problem is Auckland.

            • Draco T Bastard 4.3.1.1.1.1

              As always, the logistical problem is people being unable to see the wood for the trees. Auckland is no more a problem than any other part of the country.

              • McFlock

                The power failures in a major metropolitian area suggest otherwise.

                • TC

                  Power failure is mostly due to inadequate investment in the network not a shortage of power.

                  Akl cbd only got diverse power feed into hobson st sub over 15 yrs after the blackouts in 98.

                  We have the megawatts but not the efficient management of delivery and network thanks to nats bradford ‘reforms’.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    +1

                  • Richard McGrath

                    Power shortages are more often due to regulation preventing power companies from increasing their prices during periods of heavy load to give consumers incentive to reduce unnecessary use.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Nope. Power shortages are due to capitalists turning the power off so as to hike the prices and make more money.

              • Colonial Viper

                Auckland is no more a problem than any other part of the country.

                Yeah don’t lump the rest of us with the unplannable shit fight that is AKL please.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  I’ve lived in both Auckland and Dunedin – Auckland is better planned.

          • Chuck 4.3.1.1.2

            Agree local distributed generation, not centralised generation.

            However bio-fuels have a huge part to play…they are required for planes and shipping…don’t see any other way of making a Dream liner fly without supplying some kind of fuel to its turbines…better it be Bio (renewable) verse mineral oil.

            • Draco T Bastard 4.3.1.1.2.1

              However bio-fuels have a huge part to play…they are required for planes and shipping

              Well, we don’t actually need planes and shipping can go back to sail.

              • Chuck

                And back to the 18th and 19th century! I really hope you you are just trying to have a joke…in one sentence you have just destroyed international trade and travel.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  LOL

                  What makes you think that international trade and travel is economic?

            • Lloyd 4.3.1.1.2.2

              Bio fuels running planes is a fantasy.
              Planes are such wonderful devices for moving people we are unlikely to give them up. Closing Huntly will be an offset equivalent to letting part of Air New Zealand’s fleet keep flying

              • Richard McGrath

                How about coal fired planes?

                • Andre

                  For a turbine to work, the fuel has to get introduced and rapidly mixed into the air at a place where the air is already at high temperature and pressure. In practice, that means the fuel has to be a gas or a liquid that volatilizes very quickly. Trying to do it with anything solid, even powdered, is simply impractical.

                • Chuck

                  The wonderful thing about fossil oil fuels is the sheer energy they pack in small amounts.

                  The answer is Bio-fuels, made from self restoring natural resources. Already many of the “issues” have been overcome like the calorific value (normally they are half of fossil based jet fuel) of Bio-fuels on top of many others. The key is now to increase the yield from each tonne of forest waste (great source of feed stock to use) to produce Bio-oil. Progress has already been made.

              • Chuck

                “Bio fuels running planes is a fantasy”. And you base your comment on what?

                Technology is advance at a fast place, it will become main stream in our life time no doubt.

    • Lloyd 4.4

      If you are generating too much energy from wind and solar, pump some of the water back uphill and use it on those cold, still nights to generate hydro power.
      Sure it might be inefficient but if your wind power is really cheap and very abundant the inefficiency doesn’t matter.
      Replacing Huntly with some pumps on the Waikato dams might not be too big a trade-off.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    Read on in the original article for the economic argument for extending the lifetime of Huntly.

    ACC means that there is no economic argument for extending their life. There’s a monetary one (maybe) but money has become seriously disconnected from reality over the last few centuries.

  6. r0b 7

    Interesting discussion, thanks folks.

  7. Ad 8

    The percentage share of wind and solar combined in New Zealand remains very small:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_sector_in_New_Zealand#/media/File:NZElectricityByType.svg

    And people in New Zealand oppose pretty much any kind of electricity generation, put anywhere. Neither solar nor wind is a replacement for the Auckland base load of Huntly coal-fired.

    Changing Auckland’s generation away from coal would not be much of a problem if Tiwai Point Smelter was to close – even with the thermal loss of pushing the generation all the way up the country.

    But as with Tiwai, so with Huntly: it’s just not enough to say you are going to effectively kill a medium-sized town in New Zealand, by killing its main employer.

    These are far, far bigger than little “transition town” exercises. These are whole societies at risk.

    Huntly – as a core supplier to Auckland – needs an actual active government to do its job.

    • maui 8.1

      Tiwai point is on borrowed time, I don’t see commodity prices significantly recovering.

      • Gristle 8.1.1

        I don’t think the national grid in the south is strong enough to push lots of power from Manapouri. The DC link is only between Haywards and Benmore. There’s about 5 hours drive between Benmore and Manapouri. Where’s an engineer when you need one?

    • weka 8.2

      How did NZ manage during the two world wars? Your argument appears to be bard in the idea that we should prioritise making sure the economy is ok. What if that’s inherently incompatible with mitigating the worst of cc?

      • Ad 8.2.1

        We’re not on a war footing and no government will ever be, because climate change is a slow-growing, diffuse, non-state, gradual crisis. The command-and-control state is not coming back.

        It would be nice if proposing to shut Huntly was a part of a great sustainability programme, but it’s not. It’s about maintenance costs.

        I want a current and future government to change whole societies away from fossil fuel reliance, but loading that task onto the most vulnerable areas in New Zealand (like Invercargill and Huntly) without a comprehensive social development and economic development plan is just cruel.

        • Lanthanide 8.2.1.1

          +100

          I don’t have so much concern for the local communities, but it’s all very well and good for Greenpeace to want to shut the coal plant down because it pollutes, but the issue is more complicated than that.

          It’s similar to Project Aqua, the plan for dams on the Waitaki valley. The locals were overwhelmingly in favour of the project; it was all the out-of-town (mostly Auckland) greenies who got the project shelved.

          Had Project Aqua gone ahead, shutting down Huntley would have been a no-brainer (it probably would have been shut already).

          • weka 8.2.1.1.1

            The locals weren’t in favour and protested against it (I have friends that live there). So let’s agree to disagree, or maybe agree that there were mixed feelings about it.

            We have to stop using so much power. There is a physical limit to how much hydro we can build in NZ, and many many people now are saying no, it’s not ok to wreck more rivers in order to reach that limit sooner. We can build another dam on the Waitaki but then what happens when that’s not enough?

            Yes, people who want Huntly shut down need to think about what that means, and how they personally will use less power.

        • weka 8.2.1.2

          “We’re not on a war footing and no government will ever be, because climate change is a slow-growing, diffuse, non-state, gradual crisis.”

          Until it’s not. We will be there eventually, think mass migrations/refugees, collapsed industrial food supply chains.

          “I want a current and future government to change whole societies away from fossil fuel reliance, but loading that task onto the most vulnerable areas in New Zealand (like Invercargill and Huntly) without a comprehensive social development and economic development plan is just cruel.”

          I’m pretty sure that most of the people wanting Huntly shut down would be delighted if the government did so with regard for the local communities. There’s no reason that can’t happen apart from National being ideologically against it and probably incompetent.

          So I think your argument is a false one. It’s National that are preventing both the shutting down and the shifting of those local economies to a post-carbon age*, not the protestors or their supporters.

          *Ironically, given your minimising and patronising comment, the Transition Towns movements could help with planning that. Do you know who Susan Krumdieck is?

        • Macro 8.2.1.3

          We should be on a war footing the effects of continued global warming are going to be far more severe than any war the world has ever experienced in the past and will last for far longer.

          • Draco T Bastard 8.2.1.3.1

            +1

          • weka 8.2.1.3.2

            +2

          • Richard McGrath 8.2.1.3.3

            Er – there’s a more important war already underway, or have you somehow missed it? The death cult of Islam versus the Western values of the Enlightenment, assimilation, tolerance, freedom and liberal democracy.

            • Macro 8.2.1.3.3.1

              🙄
              Maybe you haven’t been listening – but let me tell you – impending seal level rise over the next century of up to 3 m means almost all major cities world wide are under threat. The relocation of not just 1 million refugees but 136 million people is facing us even now.
              The drought caused by rising temperature of 2004 – shown to be attributable to AGW resulted in not only over 20,000 more dead in Europe alone, but also poor harvests in the middle East particularly Syria. Food shortages and rising costs for food combined with poor Government, are as much to blame for the current strife as anything else.
              The situation in African Sahal is only going to deteriorate, and more dislocation and pressure on Europe will result.
              This current crisis is simply a precursor of what is to follow.

            • Draco T Bastard 8.2.1.3.3.2

              The death cult of Islam versus the Western values of the Enlightenment, assimilation, tolerance, freedom and liberal democracy.

              I find it amazing that you can actually say that as you promote the death values of Western capitalism.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.3

      Neither solar nor wind is a replacement for the Auckland base load of Huntly coal-fired.

      Put a couple of kilowatts of solar panels on the rooftops and we don’t need Huntly any more. Throw some wind generators out in the gulf and we could probably kiss goodbye to all other fuel burning generators.

      But as with Tiwai, so with Huntly: it’s just not enough to say you are going to effectively kill a medium-sized town in New Zealand, by killing its main employer.

      We could transition Huntly into a town that did something other than mine and burn.

      • TC 8.3.1

        +1
        Oz doesnt have to build another plant for decades as their solar push on business and domestic has relieved demand. Germany looking to close 25% on peak demand gen as its not required snymore.

        Thats whats possible with progressive policy, shonkys flogging of the generators was crucial in placing a ball and chain around any such progression.

      • weka 8.3.2

        Is the Huntly plant useful for anything else?

        • Macro 8.3.2.1

          No! and it raises downstream water temperatures of the Waikato river by as much as 4 degrees C. (Which is why it is where it is – the Waikato acts as the coolant for the condensers of the stream plant). This as you can imagine does not have a beneficial effect for any native fish species which might still be transiting up stream.

          • weka 8.3.2.1.1

            I didn’t know that. Water temperature already seems to be a cc issue so another good reason to shut it down.

            So the plant would have to be demolished? Can’t be repurposed?

            • Macro 8.3.2.1.1.1

              A museum piece? Bloody great big brick building with smoke stacks on the bank of a river – the Mercer power station decomissioned years back is being used for something – I’m not sure what – don’t go that way much these days. Maybe BM could inform us.
              The water temps from CC are more to do with oceans heating rather than rivers. But I guess Rivers are also warming (probably quite a bit this summer).

              • weka

                I meant rivers being warmer due to local weather, and local weather patterns are changing due to CC. Low river flow is the most obvious one, but I bet there are others.

                Climate change museum!

          • tc 8.3.2.1.2

            Which then gets pumped out treated and pumped into akl supply at a significant energy footprint….tasty!

            Slightly off topic but that’s another example of pisspoor or wilfully negligent network planning from likely lads, ford, banksy etc as that’s pre supershitty.

  8. Colonial Viper 9

    Mothball the plant in an operable condition and leave a months worth of coal there as an emergency reserve.

    • David 9.1

      The cost to maintain a mothballed plant isn’t any less in reality than the cost of running it.

  9. Lloyd 10

    Big power stations don’t moth-ball well. Things go rusty and valves jam and bricks crumble.

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