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New Zealand About to Say Adios to Coal

It's 'another good piece of news for anyone wanting their kids to have a future without runaway climate change'

The Huntly Power Station in 2008.  (Photo:  Phil Norton/flickr/cc)

In a move celebrated as good news for the climate, New Zealand is on track to end coal-fired power.

Genesis Energy announced Thursday that it will shut down its last two coal-burning electricity generators, which operate at the Huntly Power Station, by December 2018.

Company Chairman Jenny Shipley said the move was in part because of the falling price of renewables, and that it would help bring the nation closer to its target of having renewable energy power 90 percent of its electricity. by 2025.

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In 2014, renewables generated nearly 80 percent of the nation's electricity.

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges said the "closure marks the end of coal-fired power generation in New Zealand."

Greenpeace welcomed the news but pointed out that it was a business, not Prime Minister John Key, making the climate-wise move.

"The announcement by Genesis Energy is another good piece of news for anyone wanting their kids to have a future without runaway climate change," stated Greenpeace New Zealand Campaigner Simon Boxer.

"But it’s something that our government should be leading on," his statement continued. "It’s just another example of John Key and his cronies dropping the ball for New Zealanders. They don’t have their finger on the pulse of the global move away from fossil fuels."

In a blog post at Greenpeace Nathan Argent, Policy Advisor for Greenpeace NZ, stresses this point as well, writing that the coal plant shutdown "will leave John Key’s pollution obsessed government with soot on their face."

Key, Argent charges, "has repeatedly failed to provide backing to our clean energy workforce, ignoring the massive job creation and economic boost that this would bring.

"In the same way that our distant ancestors stopped using stone to cut cloth, clean energy will replace polluting power like coal. The question is whether the Key government can evolve fast enough to be part of this new, clean energy age. All the evidence suggests they’re not," he writes.

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