Lack of energy leadership could see coal pollution continue

Power companies should be leading a national shift to clean energy, not lining up to keep the Huntly coal power station open, the Green Party said today.

Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes is inviting the power companies that have called for Huntly to keep burning coal to meet with him and find a way to replace coal with cleaner options.

“If burning more coal is the answer then as a country we have been asking the wrong questions,” Mr Hughes said.

“The National Government isn’t showing leadership on the shift to clean energy so I’m inviting the electricity industry to work with me to achieve a cleaner energy future.

“New Zealand can be a leader in renewable energy. We have almost 4000 megawatts of consented renewable generation ready and waiting to be built.

“Investing millions of dollars to keep Huntly burning dirty coal is exactly the kind of thing that happens when the Government’s emissions trading scheme encourages companies to pollute.

“The world is turning away from coal and political leaders like Barack Obama are leading that, but in New Zealand our Government is sitting on its hands.

“New Zealand had a higher percentage of renewable generation in 1980 and 1990 than we do now.

“To make good on our Paris climate commitments, New Zealand needs a clean energy strategy and a strong price on carbon pollution – and we need to stop burning coal,” said Mr Hughes.

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