9 Aug 2015

New Zealand to be coal-free by 2018, 90% renewable by 2025

It appears that New Zealand is finally ready to throw their domestic coal habit into Mount Doom — by 2018, the country will cease to use coal as a source of domestic energy production.

“Historically coal has played an important role in ensuring the security of New Zealand’s electricity supply, particularly in dry years where our hydro-lake levels are low,” Simon Bridges, New Zealand’s Energy and Resources Minister, said in a statement. “But significant market investment in other forms of renewable energy in recent years, particularly in geothermal, means that a coal backstop is becoming less of a requirement.”

Bridges’ statement comes on the heels of the country’s largest electricity and gas retailer, Genesis Energy, announcing its intentions to shut down the last of their two coal-fired boilers at the Huntly Power Station, located south of Auckland, by December of 2018.

“Its closure marks the end of coal-fired power generation in New Zealand,” Bridges said, noting that the closure of the plants would also help New Zealand significantly reduce its carbon emissions. Energy is New Zealand’s second-largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions (behind agriculture), accounting for 39 percent of the country’s emissions in 2013. Of the 81 million tons of greenhouse gases emitted by New Zealand in 2013, the Huntly site released 2.3 million tons. At its peak, the site accounted for five percent of New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions, according to Radio News New Zealand.

According to a statement by Bridges in March of this year, electricity generated from renewables is at a 20-year high in New Zealand, accounting for 79.9 percent of all electricity generated. Bridges told the New Zealand Herald that “New Zealand’s share of renewable electricity generation is the fourth largest in the world,” and that the country aims to have 90 percent of its electricity produced by renewable resources in 2025.

- See more at: http://www.futuristmag.com/2015/08/new-zealand-to-be-coal-free-by-2018-90.html

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