Auckland Thermal No 1
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The Auckland Thermal No 1 power station was proposed by the New Zealand Electricity Department (NZED) as a gas-fired power station in late 1973 at one of six sites in Auckland, the capital of New Zealand.
The Rise and Fall of the Proposal
The proposal had its origins in the cancellation of a NZED proposal that it be be built at Te Atatu as a way of using gas from the proposed Maui gas field. "A large early user for the Maui gas resource was needed to justify the investment of the huge amount of money necessary to develop the field," Roger Wilson wrote in his history of the New Zealand environment movement. Opposition to the Te Atatu proposal became so intense that the Labor government led by Norman Kirk was persuaded to abandon the proposal.
When NZED released details of a revised proposal, it canvassed the Auckland Thermal No 1 being built at any one of six sites. All the proposed sites were opposed by the Environmental Defence Society which disputed the need for any new power station and the appropriateness of the nominated sites. Subsequently it became clear that a site at Waiau Pa was NZED's preferred site. NZED, Wilson wrote, "claimed that the Crown was not bound to seek a change in the zoning of the "Rural A" site for the station under the Town and Country Planning Act. Hence there would be no hearing of the case by the Planning Tribunal." However, EDS launched a legal challenge and won their case. Subsequently NZED abandoned the power station proposal.
However, Wilson notes that "the battle over Auckland Thermal No 1 was won - and it can be counted as a true environmental victory, for if there had been no opposition, there is little doubt that it would have been built. However, Maui gas was still to be wasted in both the New Plymouth and Huntly power thermal stations. Making sure the gas was used up was more important than the efficiency with which it was used."
Articles and Resources
- Roger Wilson, From Manapouri to Aramoana: the battle for New Zealand's environment, Earthworks Press, Auckland, 1982, page 56.