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Genesis warns of dark times

Published: 7:54AM Thursday May 24, 2007 Source: One News

One of New Zealand's biggest power suppliers is warning Aucklanders could end up sitting in the dark if they do not win a Court of Appeal case. But Greenpeace says Genesis is using scare tactics.

Genesis Energy wants a High Court decision overturned, so climate change does not need to be taken into account to get consent for its power stations.

Last year after Greenpeace campaigned to stop the Marsden B power station, the High Court decided regional councils would need to take climate change into account when granting resource consents. That was bad news for companies using fuels like gas and coal.

Genesis has a proposal in the pipeline for a gas fired power station in the Rodney District and runs the Huntly Power Station, which puts out 15% on New Zealand's power.

"If Huntly can't run on coal then we'd all be sitting in the dark in Auckland basically, it can't burn anything else. Without it, the lights go out," says Genesis spokesman Richard Gordon.

Greenpeace could not disagree more, saying Genesis is using scare tactics.

"That is blatant fear mongering by Genesis Energy and it is simply not true. New Zealand has an abundant resource of renewable energy," says Greenpeace spokesperson Vanessa Atkinson.

And former director of the World Bank's Environment Division, Ken Piddington, is surprised Genesis is fighting to use old-fashioned fuels like coal.

"It seems to me contradictory in a sense, government policy's very clear, scientific evidence is very clear, technology trends are very clear and we're in the 21st century," says Piddington.

If the lights do out in Auckland it won't be for some time, the renewal of Huntly's resource consent is not due for at least another four years, and the date for Genesis to go to the Court of Appeal has not yet been set.

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