Increased coal burning shows why we need natural gas

News that coal-fired electricity generation has reached a five-year high shows why we need to keep exploring for natural gas, says the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand (PEPANZ).

“When the lakes are low and natural gas is unavailable, it’s coal that keeps the lights on – even though it has twice the emissions of natural gas,” says PEPANZ CEO Cameron Madgwick.

“This shows exactly why ending new exploration for natural gas is such a bad move, both economically and environmentally.

“We now have around seven years of natural gas supply left and no plan on what to replace it with, other than burning more coal and importing LNG from overseas. Both of these options will mean higher prices for consumers and higher emissions.

“Vivid Economics estimated last year that replacing natural gas could cost up to $2,700 per household per year, or $52 per week extra in increased costs.

“Solar power will be an important part of the energy mix, but it isn’t much help after dark and battery technology is still prohibitively expensive.

“A pragmatic way forward would be for the Government to ask the Climate Change Committee and the Electricity Authority to consider the role of natural gas as part of its work on New Zealand’s energy system.”