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Energy & solar news summary #6

We’re all about saving you energy, so we’ve rounded up this week’s solar and energy news so you don’t have to.

It looks like the days of generating electricity with dirty fossil fuels are numbered in New Zealand. On Monday Contact Energy announced it will close its Otahuhu gas power station, in Auckland, next month in favour of renewable forms of electricity. This news follows the announcement by Genesis Energy, earlier in the month, that it will stop burning coal at the Huntly power station in 2018 and today it said it would cancel is coal contract with Solid Energy.  Are these two closure notices connected and what does it all mean? The Herald's energy writer Grant Bradley puts it down to increasing geothermal energy which now makes up 13% of the electricity generated in NZ. Bradley also looks into what's happening at Contact Energy now that its majority shareholder, Australian energy company Origin, has sold up.

Meanwhile, Meridian Energy has blamed anti-renewable policies by the Abbott government in Australia for costing it valuable income.

The Green Party says the news of dropping fossil fuel power generation in NZ means our government should now set a target of 100% renewable energy. At solarcity that's something we've been campaigning for since the start of year as the government's current target is an unambitious 90% by 2025. You can add your support this online petition for a 100% target.

The Green Party also has a bill before Parliament that, it says, would guarantee households a fair price for any excess renewable electricity, like solar, they supply back to the grid. The party's energy spokesperson, Gareth Hughes, says solar can play a big part in NZ's clean energy future. "Going solar will lower our carbon emissions, add resilience to our grid, enable people to gain greater independence from increasing power prices and will create good green jobs throughout New Zealand."

Solar has caught the attention of a group of Raglan residents which is looking to set up a community-led power project. They see local generation as an important part of a clean energy future and will be looking at installing solar on about 30 of the 100 homes in the group.

The Paris climate talks are happening in December. It's just been announced that a fleet of 200 electric, zero emission cars will be used to transport delegates between the venues.