8 Jul 2015

Genesis axes Rodney power station plan

9:39 am on 8 July 2015

Genesis Energy has confirmed the gas-fired power station planned in Rodney, north of Auckland, has been scuttled.

The company's general manager of strategy and corporate affairs, Dean Schmidt, blamed flat demand for electricity, which has seen big power projects put on hold by several companies.

030214. Photo Genesis Energy. Genesis Energy Huntly Power Station is a thermal power station that can use coal, gas or both simultaneously as fuel.

Flat demand for electricity has also seen the Huntly Power Station reduce its output. Photo: GENESIS ENERGY

The idea of a gas-powered, electricity-generating plant was developed about a decade ago and won resource consent in 2009.

It would have piped gas to a site near Rodney, where it would have been burnt to produce power for the North.

It was to have had a capacity of 480 megawatts.

The scheme won resource consent despite local opposition and concern about greenhouse gas emissions.

But the power station was never built and around 60 hectares of land set aside for the project is now up for sale.

The axing of the scheme comes as demand for electricity remains flat, causing major projects to be delayed across the country.

The electricity landscape could become more depressed if the operators of the aluminium smelter in Southland decide to close the operation in 2017.

An announcement about the future of the smelter is expected at the end of the month.

The smelter uses about one seventh of New Zealand's electricity and its closure would flood the market with unused capacity.

The axing of the Rodney power station comes after Genesis downsized the coal-fired, power-generating units at Huntly at the end of last month. Only two of four units now remain burning.

The company said factors that contributed to the decision to retire the two Huntly units were the dry autumn and the lack of a supply crisis in 2012.

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