Deadline looming for power plant decision

Time is running out for the Government to decide whether people will get a say on Nova Energy’s proposal to build a large gas-fired power plant in south Waikato with significant impacts on the environment and climate change, the Green Party said today.

“The Government should ‘call in’ Nova’s application to build a new gas-fired power plant as a matter of national significance so everyone gets to have a say, because it will affect New Zealand’s commitments under the Paris Climate Change Agreement,” said Green Party energy and resources spokesperson Gareth Hughes.

“New Zealand has committed to reducing our climate pollution under the Paris Climate Agreement, so it would be ridiculous to allow big new sources of climate pollution to be built.

“It would be a massive failure of policy and leadership to allow a new power plant that could emit an estimated 425,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution a year and dismiss its impacts on the climate.

“Almost 3000 people have signed a petition asking Nick Smith to show leadership about this power station.

“The Resource Management Act says that whether a project is relevant to New Zealand’s international obligations to the global environment – like the Paris Climate Agreement – is a factor in deciding if it’s a matter of national significance that can be ‘called in’.

“This dirty power plant could need another 17,000 hectares of trees planted to suck up all the CO2 pollution it could spew out.

“It’s common for power plants to be ‘called in’ because of their national significance, and Nova’s proposed large 360 Megawatt new gas-fired power plant should be too.*

“Whether you’re personally for or against this power station, its size makes it so significant that it must be treated as a matter of national interest,” Mr Hughes said.

Environment Minister Nick Smith has until Tuesday 25 October to decide whether to ‘call in’ the 360 MW power plant proposal as an issue of national significance for either a board of inquiry or the Environment Court to make the consenting decisions, or leave the decisions to the Otorohanga District and Waikato Regional councils, under the timeframe in the RMA.

*List of electricity projects called in under the RMA

·         Taranaki combined cycle (gas) plant – similar to Nova’s proposed Waikato plant

·         Hauāuru mā raki wind farm

·         Tauhara II geothermal plant

·         Turitea wind farm

·         Transpower North Island grid upgrade

·         Te Waka wind farm

·         Te Mihi geothermal plant

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