Haere rā Anadarko, Kia ora clean energy

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Today I farewelled Texan oil drillers Anadarko and said a resounding ‘kia ora’ to clean energy at Parliament. I passed over thousands of messages from ordinary Kiwis demanding a clean energy future to the National Government and Anadarko, gathered over summer on beaches across New Zealand.

Anadarko is sailing its deep sea rig to the Gulf of Mexico after drilling two very deep wells off the coasts of Raglan and Otago and not finding any oil. All those breathless government claims there could be billions of dollars of oil under our waves have come to nothing. Instead what we’ve seen is the Government pour tens of millions of taxpayers’ dollars down these wells in the form of tax breaks and subsidies. For what?

This Election Kiwis face a real choice over energy direction. On one side National backs risky deep sea drilling and fracking; simply offers excuses for a 20% increase power price rises under their watch and 42,000 people’s electricity disconnected in the last year; and has made an expensive mess of selling off the energy assets. They talk up renewable electricity generation but we still have less renewables as a percentage of generation than New Zealand did in 1980 or 1990, yet meanwhile the Prime Minister is opening new power stations driven by fracked gas, and emissions from coal-fired generation were up 463% compared to 1990! National’s slogan could be more expensive, dirty energy with less energy freedom.

On the other side the Greens stand for cheaper, cleaner, energy freedom. The Green Party is the only party in Parliament actively pushing a truly clean energy future for New Zealand. We’re ready to put policies in place to achieve a 100% renewable electricity system. We’re supporting research into the potential of biomass, biofuels, and energy from waves, tides and currents. We’re proposing policies to ensure people can generate their own power at home and be paid a fair price for it when they sell it back into the grid. Our vision for employment in the smart, Green economy includes Kiwis installing insulation under people’s roofs and solar panels on the top.

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If you care about jobs, there are four times more jobs in clean energy than fossil fuels. If you care about profits staying in New Zealand, the Government’s own reports predict 90% of profits from oil flowing offshore. If you care about our economy, the National’s Party energy policy theorises we could we see $4-12 billion from ‘possible’ oil yet PWC estimate we could see almost double that, $7-22 billion, from taking advantage of existing clean energy technology.

As Anadarko sails away empty handed it’s time to question the energy direction New Zealand has embarked on. No matter how many subsidies they pour down these risky deep sea oil wells we’ll never be the South Seas’ Saudi Arabia, but we can be global leaders in clean energy and build a richer future for Aotearoa.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Thank god they’ve gone. Despite Key’s hollow assurances, New Zealander would never have coped with a blow-out!

  2. Biofuels require a lot of space.
    The UK coal fired power station at Drax has recently been converted to woodchip

    In order to service this, thousands of hectares of forest are being clear-felled in the USA and the chips shipped across the Atlantic in diesel power ships.

    Apart from the loss of habitat and the visual aspect of clear felling vast swathes of forest, the CO2 emissions from the overall process are estimated to be 20% above the levels emitted from the original coal fired power station

    This gets subsidised by the UK taxpayer as a “renewable” energy source, thus pushing up consumer power prices.

    So I’d like to see how this might pan out in NZ

  3. One of the numerous problems with your thesis Gareth is that if you are proposing Govt. intervention in an attempt to achieve your predetermined result. Your desire for a “cheaper, cleaner, energy freedom” is not only noble but financially astute. So much so that if it is actually achievable the market will deliver it without any Govt. incentive.

    • It’s a shame you don’t hold the fossil fuel industry to the same false standards, intrinsiclackofvalue. What have they ever delivered without government incentives ranging from multi-billion dollar subsidies right through to the invasion of whole countries?

  4. Thanks INTRINSICVALUE, I agree we don’t need to subsidise clean energy but we do need to clear the barriers and level the playing field. At the moment there is a huge amount of subsidies and tax breaks for the wealthy oil industry, laws passed under Urgency, a laughable carbon price (subsidy for polluters paid by taxpayers) and what looks like an open door policy from the PM and Energy Minister. NZ is currently ranked 9th in the world for support for the oil industry but 39/40 (next to Saudi Arabia) for policies that support renewables.

    What we’ve announced is a renewables focus for NZ Power and policies to reduce the barrier of high upfront cost for going solar through low-cost lows and an independent umpire to set a fair payment with greater time certainty for Kiwis exporting to the grid. We think these are smart solutions that help but aren’t subsidies. I have a vision for 100% renewables in electricity and significantly reducing our $8B oil import bill saving the planet and saving Kiwis money. Thanks for the comment.

    • So How do you plan to Reduce our Oil Imports? By Banning Cars,Trucks,Buses Trains Ships,Boats Aircraft that Use Oil? petrol? , Diesel? or using NZ oil and Gas products? To Grow Crops for Bio Fuels means intensive Land Use Mono-culture of one plant which Could be a Food producing plant to feed the world. Will the Greens Stop Using Airlines to get to from Parliament or to Meetings around the Country and overseas..Will we See Green List MPs Biking to Parliament instead of Using the Taxi’s and Govt Limo service? or using their own Cars.

      • If it were up to me, I would pass a law stipulating mandatory expropriation of the vehicles of anyone asking such stupid questions, and a travel ban. Given that trolls are slow learners, there should be a significant decline in road traffic while you guys were figuring out what had happened.

        • Strange how they always focus on the obvious disadvantages of bio fuels while ignoring the more pragmatic alternatives – solar, hydro, wind, and tide for power generation – even Andys didn’t mention his thorium nuclear power plants as an alternative while he was making a good case against bio fuels. It seems to me that the use of bio fuels was always another way for government to dish out more subsidies to the fossil fuel and farming industries.
          http://m.truthdig.com/report/item/5_signs_solar_power_is_taking_over_the_world_20140322

  5. Congratulations on a great post Gareth.

    Over at Centre Left ‘The Standard’ website, the website’s moderator Lynn Prentice has also written a post on the departure of Andarko. Of course Lynn Prentice doesn’t mention that his party, the Labour Party also support the craziness of deep sea oil drilling.

    I have heard you say Gareth, that deep sea oil drilling needs to be opposed on the grounds of climate change.

    Though Lynn Prentice’s objections are based on the economic madness of deep sea oil drilling, rather than the climate madness, or, ecological madness of seeking unconventional fossil fuels like deep sea oil. Still, this is a big shift for Prentice.

    The Current deputy leader of the Labour Party, David Parker, has said his party’s policies on oil, gas and mineral extraction are close to those of National’s.

    In the past Lynn Prentice has claimed that the Greens and Labour also have policies that look remarkably the same.

    This is all part of the Labour Party pressure on the Greens to accept the Labour/National Party consensus on new coal mining and deep sea oil exploration as a condition of joining a Labour led government.

    It is interesting that Prentice now seems to be distancing himself from this viewpoint, (if only on economic grounds).

    I put this down to two things, first the dismal failure of the drilling itself. But in my opinion, more importantly than this, the huge Green Party and Greenpeace led protest movement against deep sea oil drilling has shifted the centre of politics, consequently centrists like Prentice find themselves having to move too.

    Gareth you say: “The Green Party is the only party in Parliament actively pushing a truly clean energy future for New Zealand.”

    This is good news. It is great that the Greens are differentiating themselves from the Labour/National consensus to mine it drill frack it, and are standing up to Labour’s bullying to agree to these things.

    This bodes well for an honourable negotiated coalition.

    • But the Greens Still USE Air NZ to fly all over NZ They Still Own and Drive Vehicles that Run on Fossil Fuels they “Drive ” to Protests against oil Drilling …Burning up the same Fuels they Make a Fuss about …I Don’t Own a Car ..I tend to Walk a lot.

      • When all other arguments fail, maintain that the opposition must compete at a distinct disadvantage. Never mind the simple truth; that though we advocate for a different future, we are subject to the same constraints.

        Im glad you like to walk, though supporting the states quo will hardy improve or reward your effort.

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