Huge energy deposits in southland leave politicians cold

, posted: 4-Nov-2006 14:13

The Southland Times has a story about huge lignite deposits in the Southland and Otago which apparently could keep New Zealand going for some 300 years.

Commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Development (MED), the report reckons this is a bit of an energy bonanza for the country:

The lignite report, by consultant David Natusch, says a mining and processing project producing petrochemicals or electricity at Central Otago's Hawkdun-Home Hills is commercially feasible, in national economic interest and will substantially increase the country's self reliance and security of supply.

If developed at the rate of 20 million tonnes a year the lignite could provide energy and feedstock for most of New Zealand's transport fuel and petrochemical requirements for more than 300 years.

"New Zealand's lignite resource will still be available long after most nations have exhausted their hydrocarbon feedstocks. This will place New Zealand in a future strategic position not dissimilar to that of the oil rich nations today," the report says.

The Hawkdun lignite deposit alone, if mined to completion, will have a gross product value of between $75 billion and $120 billion, the report says.

However, neither the Greens nor Labour Energy Minister David Parker are keen on lignite, which is known as the dirtiest coal thanks to its high moisture and relatively low energy content. The Greens think we should go for renewable energy sources instead and Parkes is worried about the greenhouse gases lignite could release.

With oil said to be dwindling and going up in price as scarcity bites, can New Zealand really ignore the lignite? It's not clear how renewable energy sources can provide anywhere near the amount of power needed, at a price that we can afford. There will be no nuclear power here - not for any logical reasons, but solely out of emotive and political ones - and it's far from clear that renewable energy sources such as solar panels, windmills, wave generators and thermal bores can do more than supplement our power needs. As for bio-fuels, they seem like a bad idea that will harm the environment more than any current energy source.

Without any real options to supplant oil, shouldn't Parker at least ask his mandarins to look into if the energy in lignite can be extracted cleanly?

The report is not yet on the MED website - will post a link to it when it goes up. It would very useful if our technology bureaucrats, the MED, were to introduce RSS/ATOM feeds to help us pick up new content... (/hint)

Update Thanks to Willy Trolove for spotting the Parkes/Parker thinko.

Other related posts:
Wikileaks keeps publishing despite Assange's arrest
Letter to Simon Power, minister of commerce re: Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill
NZ government could create new last-mile monopoly with UFB

comments powered by Disqus


Google News search
IT News
PC World New Zealand
Computerworld NZ
PC World and Computerworld Australia
PC World US
Computerworld US
NZ Herald
Virus Bulletin

Content copyright © Juha Saarinen. If you wish to use the content of my blog on your site, please contact me for details. I'm usually happy to share my material as long as it's not for spamblogs and content farms. Please attribute with a link back to this blog. If you wish to advertise on my blog, please drop me an email to discuss the details.
Comments policy All comments posted on this blog are the copyright and responsibility of the submitters in question. Comments commercial and promotional in nature are not allowed. Please ensure that your comments are on topic and refrain from making personal remarks.