The electricity companies conducting a behind-the-scenes fight to keep New Zealand’s last coal-fired power plant at Huntly alive are an “absolute disgrace”, says Greenpeace executive director Russel Norman.

Today it was revealed that several of New Zealand’s electricity industry leaders have been meeting with Huntly owner Genesis Energy in an attempt to subvert an earlier decision to close the last two coal fired electricity generating units in 2018.

“These companies claim they’re concerned killing coal could result in a shortage of power during dry periods, but I don’t buy it,” says Norman.

“Even New Zealand’s Electricity Authority has come forward and said closing Huntly won’t result in a shortage of power, dry year or not. And if there are ever any real issues around supply of electricity, then innovation and forward-thinking when it comes to renewables is something we expect of our electricity providers.

“It’s ridiculous that  just one month after nations of the world met together in Paris and agreed to cut emissions, we’re still debating whether or not to use  climate destroying coal fired power here.

“It’s absolutely disgraceful that companies like Meridian, which is sold on a clean energy image, are supporting dirty coal. They, along with other electricity companies, have a duty to their customers to look for cleaner solutions.”