Wellington think tank claims that the proposed lignite-to-urea fertilizer plant by the government coal miner, Solid Energy, is expected to get more than $500 million subsidies over the first 20 years of its carbon debt. Solid Energy, while divulging details few days back, had said that plant would offer as many as 500 employment opportunities, besides producing enough urea for export industry.
The $1.4 billion plant collectively developed by farmer-owned fertilizer company Ravensdown and Solid Energy will be the second-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the coal-fired Huntly power station.
Sustainability Council's Executive Director, Simon Terry, said that the plant would convert 2 million tonnes of lignite a year to nitrogen-rich urea fertilizer, and it can claim a subsidy on the cost of emissions under emissions trading scheme (ETS). Environmental lobbyists, on the other hand, raised concerns over the prospective pollution caused by such plants.
CEO Conor English said: "Our information is that the plant would be carbon compliant from day one, and logic tells you that when you are producing the product locally it must be better than producing it on the other side of the world and shipping it to New Zealand."