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Increased Coal-Firing shows the need for Natural Gas

Coal Burning

Credit: Creative Commons

The debate around how New Zealand would generate energy in the future is looming again as the burning of coal facilitating electricity generation reportedly has reached a five-year high. The scenario shows why there’s a need to keep exploring for natural gas, according to the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ).

PEPANZ CEO Cameron Madgwick stated, in the context, that when the lakes are low and natural gas is unavailable the coal would keep the lights on, even though it had more emissions than natural gas. He reiterated the need to keep exploring for natural gas—as ending the new exploration for gas could be a bad move both economically and environmentally.

Madgwick also stated that there were around seven years of natural gas supply left and there was no plan on what to replace it with, other than burning more coal and importing LNG overseas. Both of the options would spell higher prices for consumers and higher emissions. He further added that vivid Economics estimated in 2018 that replacing natural gas could cost around $2,700 per household per year, or $52 per week extra in increased costs.

In the context, solar power would be an important part of the energy mix. And a pragmatic way forward, according to Madgwick, was for the Government to ask the Climate Change Committee and the Electricity Authority to mull over the role of natural gas as part of its work on the energy system of New Zealand.

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