Fonterra should follow the United Kingdom (UK) Government’s lead and phase out coal use instead of building new coal-fired milk drying plants, the Green Party said.
The UK has announced that it will close all coal-fired electricity generation plants by 2025. Unless it takes action, Fonterra will by then be New Zealand’s largest user of coal after Genesis Energy stops burning coal in the Huntly power plant in 2018.
“The UK has identified the need to stop burning coal and find alternatives. It’s time Fonterra did too instead of building new coal burners, like the ones planned at the Studholme milk plant in Canterbury,” Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes said.
“If the UK can ditch coal for generating 30 percent of its electricity, Fonterra can too for drying its milk powder. Fonterra’s future can’t be powered by a nineteenth century fuel.
“Fonterra has alternatives available, like burning wood waste from the local forestry industry instead of coal.
“Fonterra’s size and significance to New Zealand means it needs to show leadership and be part of the solution to reducing New Zealand’s agricultural emissions, instead of burning more coal.
“Coal is the worst fossil fuel for polluting our air and causing climate change. Almost everyone from the UK to China is trying to burn less of it, except Fonterra.
“Submissions on the resource consent application for Fonterra’s proposed new coal plants in Canterbury close next week. I encourage people to tell Environment Canterbury and Fonterra what they think about coal,” Mr Hughes said.