This morning Russel Norman, Greenpeace’s executive director, has demanded that ‘Genesis Energy must close Huntly’s coal-fired generators by 2018.’
In a letter to the Genesis CEO the Greenpeace boss says that it is ‘frankly shocking that less than three months after Paris, Genesis and other power companies are colluding on strategies to keep coal burning in New Zealand rather than on strategies to cut pollution.’
‘You will no doubt be aware that Greenpeace has successfully campaigned for clean energy and against coal power around the world’, Russel points out in the letter, which has been copied to other energy companies including Contact Energy, Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, TrustPower.
‘People power will win the battle at Huntly coal’, Russel says, before adding that ‘I hope it need not come to that.’
Read the full letter here:
To: Genesis Energy CEO Albert Brantley
CC: Contact Energy, Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, TrustPower
Dear Mr Brantley,
Re: The closure of Huntly coal fired power station
Your recent statements that Genesis has been in negotiation with other power companies to keep Huntly’s two coal-fired power plants open past 2018 are deeply disappointing.
At the Paris Climate Summit (COP21) New Zealand pledged to cut carbon pollution to keep temperature rises below 2C and aspire to a target of less than 1.5C. This places an obligation on Genesis and others in the New Zealand electricity industry to stop burning coal.
It is frankly shocking that less than three months after Paris, Genesis and other power companies, most of which are majority publicly owned, are colluding on strategies to keep coal burning in New Zealand rather than on strategies to cut pollution.
Last year we celebrated your wise decision to close Huntly in 2018. This is exactly what should happen in a world seeking to avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change. The aging Huntly coal-fired power station should close and strategies implemented to achieve a 100 percent clean energy grid, including a just transition for workers.
Greenpeace takes a firm stance that, consistent with your original plan, Genesis Energy must close Huntly’s coal-fired generators by 2018.
You will no doubt be aware that Greenpeace has successfully campaigned for clean energy and against coal power around the world. We are proud that our campaign played a pivotal role in redirecting Mighty River Power away from the Marsden B fossil folly and into geothermal generation. It was a win-win outcome for people, the climate, Greenpeace and Mighty River.
For us, and for so many New Zealanders like us, clean energy and a stable climate is a defining issue of our age.
Your decision to close, or not, the Huntly coal fired power station will be a defining issue of your leadership at Genesis.
It will either be a decision that you look back on with pride, knowing that you played an important role in giving our kids a stable climate and setting New Zealand on a low carbon pathway. Or it will be a decision that you look back on with shame, as you try to explain to the young people in your life why you had a chance to contribute to a stable climate but instead chose to continue with business as usual towards a climate abyss.
The choice is yours. Which side are you on?
We know which side we are on, and we know which side large, and growing, numbers of New Zealanders are on – they want a stable climate for their kids, not more coal. This is an issue New Zealanders care about, and we will be letting New Zealanders know about this. People power won the battle of Marsden B and, if necessary, people power will win the battle at Huntly coal as well. But I hope it need not come to that.
I look forward to hearing back from you. We would very much like to let our supporters know that you will stay on the responsible side of history on this important decision.
Dr. Russel Norman
Executive Director ,Greenpeace Aotearoa New Zealand