New Zealand To Be Coal-Free By 2018

New Zealand is aiming to be coal-free by 2018. The end of the coal-fired generation, as well as the carbon emissions associated with it, will be coming to an end in New Zealand by December, 2018. According to NZ Herald, Genesis Energy, based in Auckland, announced that the two coal-burning electricity generators that it has at the Huntly Power Station will be withdrawn from the New Zealand market for good.

When the closures in Huntly are completed, it will move New Zealand’s electricity generation sector closer to the renewable target it has set, which is 90 percent. Not completely coal free, but close. Certain industries will still be using coal for energy, but the number is much lower than it is today.

Dame Jenny Shipley, Genesis Energy chairman, said that the Huntly Power Station in New Zealand has always been a great asset for Genesis, but the two coal units are no longer needed. One of the reasons Shipley noted was that the New Zealand’s electricity market has seen improvements. Shipley added that unless market conditions in New Zealand change significantly, the two coal units will no longer be required, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Albert Brantley, Chief Executive at Genesis, said that since 2009, Genesis has been on the path of closing its four coal and gas-fired generators. When Genesis shuts down the last two in New Zealand, the company could save around $20 million per year.

According to Stuff, the power station in Huntly is New Zealand’s largest, and it has a capacity of 953 megawatts. However, the decision to close down the remaining units in New Zealand will end up cutting that down by more than half.

Some believe that as a result of the two coal units being shut down in New Zealand, consumers will experience power shortages in a dry year. Bryan Leyland, an independent energy consultant, said that consumers in New Zealand will be at an increased risk of shortages in a dry year, but it was sensible for Genesis to make the decision they made. He added that when it comes to electricity shortages, the economy gets hit harder than the generators do.

New Zealand already relies on renewable energy for most of the electricity it generates. Unlike New Zealand, coal-fired power supplies around 70 percent of Australia’s electricity requirements.

New Zealand isn’t the only place that is trying to become coal-free. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Hawaii too could also be converting to 100 percent renewable energy. However, unlike New Zealand, Hawaii is hoping to be renewable by 2045.

Hawaii is aiming at 30 percent renewable by 2020, 70 percent by 2040, and 100 percent by 2045.

[Image by Sandra Mu/Getty Images]