Good news. Huntly power station, the remnant of a polluting, coal based power system in New Zealand will be shutting down its choking smoke stacks in favour of clean energy sources like solar and wind.
Genesis, the company that runs the dinosaur plant, has made this move because it’s now cheaper and better for our health to ditch dirty coal and harness the power of New Zealand’s massive clean energy resources.
It is a good – albeit long overdue – business decision that marks the end of large scale coal use to power our homes and comes on the back of a global collapse in the coal industry, where bankruptcies and cancelled projects are filling the business media pages.
It is also a decision that will leave John Key’s pollution obsessed government with soot on their face.
In his term as Prime Minister, John Key has squandered hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ hard earned cash, propping up the coal industry and looking for oil that we cannot use. He has repeatedly failed to provide backing to our clean energy workforce, ignoring the massive job creation and economic boost that this would bring.
While progressive governments, businesses and financial powerhouses jumped behind the wheel to join the clean energy race, John Key chose instead to saddle up an old ass and trot casually in the other direction to cosy up with the dirtiest companies on the planet.
Simon Bridges, Steven Joyce, Gerry Brownlee: Their names will forever be etched in the tablet of history as the ones who shackled New Zealand’s clean energy potential in favour of increasing pollution.
They have been left embarrassingly out of touch with the rest of the world.
Only this week, the Obama administration announced the Clean Power Plan that would see coal-fired power stations shut down across the United States and be replaced with clean energy.
The reason: We need to take pollution out of our economies…and there’s nothing more polluting than coal.
China, a country that was once the Western World’s excuse for not acting on climate change because they were building so many coal power stations, is now abandoning coal. Its use in the last year seen a dramatic decline.
And across the ditch, the major Australian bank CommBank – the only bank who had any association with the Carmichael mine – has also just pulled the plug on backing a hugely polluting coal project that threatened both the air we breathe and the beautiful, unique Great Barrier Reef.
This is good news for our children and brings us a step closer to safeguarding the future of our planet.
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.