The era of coal-fired power in New Zealand will soon come to an end as the country is making a rapid transition to renewables, the energy minister said.
â€œHistorically 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,â€ Energy Minister Simon Bridges said.
New Zealandâ€™s share of electricity from renewable resources in 2014 was 79.9 percent, which showed a 5 percent increase from 2013Â on the back of rise in geothermal generation, which had doubled nationally.
Significant market investment in the renewable energy sector, particularly in Â geothermal has reduced coalâ€™s importance according to the minister.
â€œNew Zealand’s share of renewable electricity generation is already the fourth largest in the world and the shift from coal will help us to achieve our ambitious goal of having 90 percent of New Zealand’s electricity supply generated by renewables by 2025,â€ Bridges said.
The governmentÂ is confident that renewable energy sector will draw more private sector investments by 2030. This is based on the trends in the past six years, where investments in renewables totaled NZ$1.5 billion.Â Utility Genesis Energy, one of the leading energy companies, is going to shut its remaining coal-fired power plants by December 2018, marking the end of coal power era in New Zealand.
According to Albert Brantley, Genesis Chief Executive Officer, lower cost renewable options, mainly in wind and geothermal coupled with low demand has made the coal unviable. Â He said changing market conditions for electricity are making coal power increasingly unwieldy.
Meanwhile, New Zealandâ€™s solar plus storage market will be getting a boost under a novel initiative that is seeking to offer more than 100 free solar and battery storage systems to chosen consumers in New ZealandÂ including community groups and schools.
Originally from International Business Times