Greenpeace halts Huntly coal import from unloading

Press release - August 21, 2003
Greenpeace activists boarded the vessel Atermon today as it berthed in Port Tauranga, preventing 30,000 tonnes of coal from being unloaded. The Indonesian coal is to be burnt at Genesis's Huntly Power Station, fuelling global warming by releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Activists climbed the ship's side, preventing the coal from being unloaded, and displayed banners reading 'Reject polluting power'.

"This shipload of dirty old coal is just the tip of the iceberg. Genesis is negotiating to import one million tonnes of coal every year, on top of a recent deal struck with Solid Energy for 11 million tonnes of coal over the next eight years," said climate campaigner Vanessa Atkinson.

"The Government must step in and cancel current negotiations for the importation of one million tonnes of coal every year. State owned enterprises such as Genesis must be brought in line with government policy and invest in clean renewable energy such as wind."

"New Zealand is moving into a phase where we will be burning more coal for electricity generation than at any other time in our history. In this age of climate change we need to be rapidly phasing out fossil use not increasing our dependency on coal - the most greenhouse gas polluting of all fossil fuels."

"Over the next eight years, Genesis plans to increase the amount of coal it burns at Huntly by about 19 million tonnes. This will release an additional 45.6 million tonnes of climate changing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere."

"While the Government is trying to tackle agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, they are also hypocritically consenting to Genesis increasing climate pollution. Many fine words have been said about renewable energy as the future for New Zealand, yet Government actions continue to embed more dirty coal into our electricity system."

Coal facts:

• Genesis has publicly stated that they will be running Huntly Power Station on 80% coal and 20% gas. Three years ago it ran on only 20% coal

• Burning coal produces 72% more carbon dioxide than burning gas

• It takes 1000 trucks to move this shipment of 30,000 tonnes of coal. This volume of coal can be burnt within 30 hours when Huntly runs at full capacity.

"Globally we need to break our fossil fuel dependency to avoid dangerous climate change. As part of this, our Government should develop an electricity system from 100% renewable sources, decommission fossil fuel power stations and actively bring on line clean alternatives," concluded Ms Atkinson.