Genesis Energy to close last coal-fired power stations in NZ

Angela Macdonald Smith, SMH, 6th August 2015

New Zealand is saying goodbye to coal-fired power generation, with Genesis Energy advising it will permanently shut its last two coal-burning generators by December 2018 amid ample supplies of cheaper renewable energy generation and subdued demand.

Genesis chairman Dame Jenny Shipley said that with improved management of hydroelectric capacity in dry years, the two coal generators at Huntly in the mid North Island would be no longer needed “unless market conditions change significantly”.

The landscape of Huntly, in the coal-producing Waikato district south of Auckland, is dominated by the huge gas and coal-fired power station sitting on the western bank of the Waikato River. The coal units at the plant, a significant emitter of greenhouse gases, have only been operating intermittently for the last several years, with most output coming from gas-fired plants at the site.

Chief executive Albert Brantley said Genesis had been on a path to closing its four coal and gas-fired Rankine generators since 2009. Two of the units have already been retired and the permanent shutdown of the last two is forecast by the company to save about $NZ20 million ($17 million) to $NZ25 million a year.


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