Lake Onslow pumped hydro scheme scrapped

The Government has axed the $16 billion Lake Onslow pumped hydro scheme championed by the previous government, Energy Minister Simeon Brown says.

“This hugely wasteful project was pouring money down the drain at a time when we need to be reining in spending and focussing on rebuilding the economy and improving the lives of New Zealanders.

“Scrapping this project was identified as a priority of the Government’s 100-day plan and we are delivering.

“After I instructed officials of my expectations, on Friday the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment confirmed all work on the scheme has ceased and decommissioning is set to begin.

“On top of its $16 billion price tag, the Lake Onslow scheme would run into likely issues with consenting and it wouldn’t be delivered for at least another decade. 

“Industry experts warned that if the scheme went ahead it would have a chilling effect on the pipeline of renewable electricity generation New Zealand needs to reach our climate goals.

Mr Brown says security of the country’s electricity supply is critically important and the Government is committed to cutting red tape to drive investment in renewable electricity generation.

“Demand is forecast to increase by two-thirds by 2050 and we need to build enough generating capacity to meet that demand. To do this, we’re going to need to significantly increase the amount of clean energy we generate from solar, wind and geothermal.

“Our decision to cancel Lake Onslow, and our commitment to make it easier to consent wind, solar and geothermal energy projects, will give industry certainty in the direction the Government is heading and greater confidence to invest in more energy production in New Zealand.”