This morning it’s been revealed that Genesis Energy will be keeping the coal burners on at New Zealand’s last coal-fired power station until at least 2022, despite promising to turn them off by 2018.

Last year, immediately after Huntly Power Station’s owner Genesis announced that its coal burners would be closing, power companies including Meridian Energy began holding closed-door discussions to backpedal on the decision.

Greenpeace New Zealand climate campaigner Jeff Harrison says Genesis should prepare itself for “the climate fight of 2016”.

“Coal is the dirtiest fuel on the planet. We live in 2016, and we live in New Zealand,” he says.

“Electricity fat cats have got together like some sort of cartel to plot on how to keep coal alive, with zero regard for the climate crisis facing our communities, or the consumers that will have to pay higher costs.

“Rather than invest money in new power sources like wind farms, which are cleaner, cheaper, and create far more jobs than coal ever could, it’s easier for our power companies to stick to the status quo.

“These power companies do not have our best interests at heart. It’s a joke that Meridian Energy, the ringleader of the pack, calls itself a renewable electricity provider to its customers. Meridian Energy is misleading them.”

In New Zealand, coal generates less than 4% of our power yet accounts for 28% of our electricity pollution, with Huntly Power Station being the biggest single source of New Zealand’s carbon emissions.

Harrison says electricity providers, including Meridian, already have consents in place to start building wind farms around the country.

It’s shameful that our power companies are supporting dirty coal. They have a duty to us to look for cleaner and cheaper solutions,” he says.

“Just four months ago the Government went and made a whole bunch of promises in front of the world at the Paris Climate Conference. And now New Zealand is investing further in coal.”