In a world, where increasingly the battle for renewables is being dented if not lost, how wise is it to find a solar farm idea near Lake Tekapo has been rejected because of the environment?
You want to 'save the environment' but you can't because of the environment?
As Rishi Sunak opens more oil fields because renewables can't cover the gaps, as EV manufacturers pull back investment because demand falls, as many countries don’t know what to do about the increased power demand if more people do buy EVs, as the Australians increasingly worry about what they will actually do about power production, given they don’t have hydro like we do and as we still haven't answered whether we want to spend $16 billion-plus on Onslow as a bucket for dry years, it seems increasingly pointless coming up with ideas that may work at scale and yet they are turned down to protect the very thing we are trying to protect.
The Tekapo idea was an 88-megawatt plan over 113 hectares. It would have serviced about 13,000 homes.
Now, it may be this project specifically was a bridge too far and in general, it could have worked, but so much of this is open to interpretation and dare we suggest an astonishingly large amount of nimbyism.
The problem, according to Environment Canterbury, was the risk of "permanent and irreversible loss of threatened land environments". What does that actually mean?
It would also "potentially impact indigenous flora and fauna". Potentially? Well, would it or would it not have?
Isn't there "potentially" indigenous flora and fauna everywhere you go in this country? Just what bit of New Zealand are we looking for?
The toxic waste dump where nothing has grown for 1,000 years?
The renewables game is fraught. On one hand, you have the Government looking at Onslow, a project so big it scares off investors in other ideas, and when investors do have other ideas the authorities look for reasons not to do it.
We don't like nuclear. Solar, at scale, needs to avoid mountain, daisies and snails apparently. Wind is a partial solution but is far from the sole answer. And we are a mile behind in offshore wave generation.
So shall we stick with Indonesian coal?
We either want to sort this or we want to find excuses.
How many times do the folks behind the Tekapo solar project and ideas like it, need to be rejected before they say "why would we bother?"
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