Scrapping Onslow a welcome move

New Zealand’s energy sector has welcomed the announcement that new Energy Minister Hon Simeon Brown has scrapped the controversial $16 billion Lake Onslow pumped hydro scheme. Cancelling the project will give firms the confidence to construct the assets needed to power our low-emissions future.

Energy Resources Aotearoa Chief Executive John Carnegie says:

"We are thrilled that the new Energy Minister has instructed officials to can the project. It will provide the energy sector with greater certainty and make private sector investment in more generation, including in desperately needed fast-start gas peakers, likelier now that this expensive handbrake has been removed.

"The prospect of Lake Onslow going ahead cast a long shadow over New Zealand’s energy sector. The threat of the government entering the market at such a scale made investment in renewable electricity generation, natural gas, and renewable gases more difficult. Fuel and technology diversity, energy security and system resilience was imperilled as a result.

"Progress on climate action should not trade off keeping the lights on for all Kiwis."

Carnegie says that evidence from overseas projects show that Lake Onslow could have easily become an expensive boondoggle for taxpayers.

"The Lake Onslow pumped hydro scheme was an expensive waste of money for a project that likely would not have delivered the touted benefits. In Australia, the Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro scheme has been plagued with
such horrendous cost overruns that consumers will face higher electricity bills once it’s completed as the project tries to claw back some cash.

"We are glad to see that New Zealand has escaped a similar fate and commend the Minister for taking decisive action."