The Green Party says the National Government must commit to stop burning coal at the Huntly power station in 2018 to achieve its own target of 90 percent renewable electricity by 2025.
Veteran electricity consultant Toby Stevenson said today it is highly unlikely that New Zealand will reach a level of 90 percent renewable electricity by 2025.
The statement comes in the wake of an electricity industry backlash against the decision by Genesis Energy to stop burning coal at Huntly by 2018.
“Closing the Huntly coal-fired power units will shift electricity generation to 85 percent renewable, putting us on the path to 90 percent,”1 said Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes.
"We can keep the lights on without burning coal for power and if we are serious about achieving our renewable target it must be a priority.
“The Energy Minister Simon Bridges seems the only person still convinced that his strategy of doing nothing will get us to 90 percent and cut fossil fuel emissions.
“The Minister can show leadership and work with energy companies to find a solution for replacing Huntly’s fossil fuel generation with renewable energy.
“New Zealand has almost 4000 Megawatts of consented renewable generation ready and waiting to be built.
“The Government can no longer afford to tip-toe around climate change. If National is serious about achieving their target to cut climate damaging pollution, they need to end the burning of coal at Huntly as soon as possible, "said Mr Hughes.
 Huntly produced 1,277 GWh from coal in 2015 Financial Year. If replaced by renewable sources it would take the renewable share from 79.9 percent to 84.5 percent for 2015 (of 42,675 GWh total generation in NZ). Sources: Genesis, Historical Quarterly and Annual Operating Data 2010-2015 and MBIE, Electricity (Data tables for electricity)