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Rainbow Warrior promoting solar power plan for NZ

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Wellington.Scoop report by Rpy Murphy
Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior III has arrived in town. It is celebrating New Zealand’s ban last April on new offshore oil exploration, and promoting ways clean energy can replace fossil fuels.

One promotion is its petition calling on Energy Minister Megan Woods to install solar panels and batteries on 500,000 homes by 2030. It has already gathered over 5,000 signatures.

New Zealand made international headlines when it became one of the first countries in the world to ban new offshore oil and gas exploration licenses in response to climate change obligations. Greenpeace marked this significant step by sending Rainbow Warrior III across the world to help New Zealand celebrate.

Greenpeace’s 10-year solar plan suggests the Government give out interest-free loans to deliver solar power with no upfront costs for the homeowner. Greenpeace says it could be financed by diverting the $78m to $88m a year of public money currently spent on subsidies for the oil and gas industry.

Greenpeace says the no-interest loans could be attached to the house that receives the solar panels and batteries, not the individuals who own it or rent it. They could be administered through Regional Councils, and paid back through rates, the way home insulation loans are.

And a University of Auckland economist has found that power companies made an extra $5.4 billion in profits over seven years from 2010 to 2016. The excess profits are similar to those found by Stanford economist Professor Frank Wolak in 2009.

“We should redesign the electricity market so that the profits are less and people pay less for electricity,” Dr Poletti said. “The hydro plants were built and paid for by taxpayers years ago – power generators don’t need to make any extra money to cover building costs, and maintenance costs are very low.”

Amanda Larsson, Greenpeace activist, says, “For too long, the rules have been rigged in favour of big energy companies. And it’s holding us back. It’s time to take the power back.”

News from Greenpeace – September 24
The Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior arrived in Wellington Harbour this afternoon as part of a tour to celebrate New Zealand’s recent ban on new offshore oil exploration, and promote clean energy opportunities.

In April, New Zealand made international headlines when it became one of the first countries in the world to ban new offshore oil and gas exploration licenses in response to climate change obligations. Internationally, Greenpeace saw the ban as so significant that it sent the Rainbow Warrior across thousands of kilometres of ocean to help celebrate with New Zealanders.

Called the Making Oil History tour, the ship has so far visited Matauri Bay, Auckland, and Whangaparaoa Bay; and will now travel to Wellington, Kaikōura, Dunedin, and Stewart Island.

In Wellington the Rainbow Warrior will have a full schedule, holding three days of public open days, a free concert, and a political event that will explore New Zealand’s transition to clean energy.

On Tuesday, leaders from the electricity industry, unions, and academia will engage in a panel debate on board the ship about the future of New Zealand’s energy system. Speakers include Alison Andrew, CEO of Transpower, Sam Huggard, Secretary of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, Steve West, CEO of Charge Net and Anna Berka, Research Fellow at the Auckland University Energy Centre. The event comes on the back of Greenpeace launching a plan last week that would see half a million New Zealand homes solarised over the next 10 years. The 20-page discussion paper, Seize the Sun, explores the current energy climate, the problems with our power sector, and the steps the Labour-led coalition needs to take over the next two years to secure a clean, modern, and affordable energy system for New Zealanders.

Greenpeace is petitioning the Government to adopt the plan.

Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, Amanda Larsson, says fitting out half a million homes with solar and batteries over the next 10 years would provide a much-needed injection of clean electricity into the New Zealand energy system. “Not only would this help to reduce our climate pollution, but it would put power back in the hands of New Zealanders, increase the resilience of the national grid, and lower energy bills across the board,” she says. “When the Coalition Government made the announcement in April banning new offshore oil and gas exploration permits, it sent a clear message that we must look elsewhere for the energy to run our cars, homes, and economy.

“We now need to urgently embark on an ambitious programme to build the new clean energy required to replace the fuels of the past. Significantly increasing the amount of home-grown clean power we generate from the sun sits at the heart of this transition.”

Greenpeace’s 10-year solar plan would work through a Government interest free loan on panels and a battery, delivering solar power with no upfront costs for the homeowner. The plan would also provide additional support to 100,000 lower incomes homes through a government grant that would cover at least half of the system cost.

Following the clean energy event, from September 29 to October 1 Greenpeace will open the Rainbow Warrior to the public at Taranaki Wharf. And on Saturday September 29, Kiwi artists Tiki Taane, Warren Maxwell, and the Daffodils will perform a ‘Making Oil History’ concert at the Wharewaka to celebrate the Government’s ban on new offshore oil and gas permits.

The Rainbow Warrior arrived at Taranaki Wharf at 5pm.

Greenpeace will hold free public open days on board the Rainbow Warrior from September 29 – October 1 from 9am-4pm. Registration starts alongside the ship on Taranaki Wharf at 8:30am on those days.

Doors open for the Making Oil History concert at 7.30pm, September 29. Register here for free tickets.

1 comment:

  1. Bernard C, 25. September 2018, 6:51

    Just cruising around NZ burning oil. Bizarre.