In Paris, last December, the world agreed it was vital to stop burning fossil fuels if there was to be any chance of winning the fight against climate change. Now, Genesis Energy has announced it is seriously thinking about re-opening one of its gas and coal fired turbines at the Huntly Power Station “if the market made it desirable”. Are they joking? How about what Kiwis and the rest of the world want?
To make coal an even more appealing option to Genesis, its CEO Marc England says it’s currently “a buyers market for fuel”. By this he probably means that coal prices are dropping through the floor as the world turns its back on the climate damaging fuel and that’s something Genesis should be capitalising on.
This staggering piece of news has not yet made it into mainstream media but has been reported by the subscription only industry publication Energy News (unfortunately, this means we can’t share the link to the article with you).
In short, Genesis says as it’s not planning on building any new generation it likes the idea of being able to fire up its third Huntly turbine that is currently in storage. The turbines can burn coal or gas. Recently it has been burning more gas but England says coal has several advantages, including its ability to be stockpiled before it is burned.
In saying this he ignores the fact that scientists have been saying for some time that two thirds of the world’s coal and gas reserves need to stay in the ground if there is to be any chance of keeping global warming under 2°C.
Remember Genesis is the same company that last year said it was going to close Huntly’s turbines in 2018 as they had been running "at the margin of the market" for a number of years, and were little used. Earlier this year it reneged and pushed the closure out to “at least 2022”, according to England.
What planet is Genesis on? It's definitely not showing this one much love. Rather than listening to the market it needs to listen to Kiwis - already more than 15,000 have signed an online petition calling on Genesis to close Huntly in 2018. There’s no need for our country to be burning more fossil fuels. We’ve got plenty of clean alternatives. Solar, along with hydro and wind, will create the strong energy future we all want for New Zealand.