Genesis Energy’s announcement that it will end coal-fired generation at Huntly in 2018 is welcome news for the environment and shows leadership where the Government has failed to take action, the Green Party said today.
“This is the beginning of the end for coal use in New Zealand. This move by Genesis will reduce our carbon emissions significantly and gives us hope for the future,” said Green Party co-leader James Shaw.
“Genesis’ coal use at Huntly generated 1,624kt of CO2 in 2013.
“If we look at that as a percentage of 1990 levels, it’s 2.43% of New Zealand’s total emissions. If the Government’s aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 11% on 1990 levels by 2030, this move takes care of more than one fifth of that – and that’s just one business representing only 40% of the country’s coal use.
“This shows how weak our emissions reduction target is. Imagine what reductions we could achieve if the Government set a more ambitious target and eliminated coal use altogether.
“The Government’s failure to take action on climate change means that it’s up to companies like Genesis to make real change.
“The Green Party is calling on other major users of coal, like Fonterra, to follow Genesis’ lead and phase out their own coal use.
“Last year industries consumed 1,116,171 tonnes of coal, the highest amount since 2003.
“The decision to stop burning coal at Genesis’ Huntly plant further reinforces the need for the Government to come up with a plan to support Solid Energy workers to find new jobs.
“The Government has framed cutting climate change emissions as costing New Zealanders, but Genesis has seen through that, and recognise that investing in renewable energy such as wind and geothermal is the way forward,” Mr Shaw said.