Meridian Energy has come under fire from the Greens for trying to prevent the closure of New Zealand’s last coal-fired power generators.
Appearing in front of Parliament’s Commerce select committee, Meridian chief executive Mark Binns said New Zealand was “a long way away” from generating all its electricity from renewables, questioning whether that might ever be possible.
“If you rely on wind and hydro, if it does’t rain, you have to have something else to turn on. And at this stage, that is fossil fuel; either coal or gas,” he said.
If you want 100% renewable, you will have periods when there is no electricity. 90% is achievable, maybe even 95%. But not 100%.
Green Party energy spokesman Gareth Hughes questioned whether Meridian’s stance was compatible with the marketing messages on the company’s website, which called on consumers to switch to Meridian to “save the world from their sofa” and support renewable energy.
Binns revealed at the company’s annual meeting last week that he had asked fellow partially-privatised power company Genesis Energy to consider delaying the planned closure of its two coal-fuelled turbines at the Huntly Power station in 2018.
All of Meridian’s branding is around how they are almost all renewable energy, but it then turns out they are the ones squealing when Genesis closes Huntly as they need their coal!