New Zealand To End Coal Power by 2018.

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. “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,” Energy Minister Simon Bridges said. New Zealand’s share of electricity from renewable resources in 2014 was 79.9 percent, which showed a 5 percent increase from 2013 on the back of rise in geothermal generation, which had doubled nationally. Significant market investment in the renewable energy sector, particularly in  geothermal has reduced coal’s importance according to the minister. “New 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,” Bridges said. The government 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. 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.  He said changing market conditions for electricity are making coal power increasingly unwieldy. Meanwhile, New Zealand’s solar plus storage market will be getting a boost under...