Huntly Power Station

From Global Energy Monitor

Huntly power station is a 954-megawatt (MW) (500 MW coal- and gas-fired, 403 MW gas-fired, and 51 MW gas- and diesel-fired) power plant in Waikato Region, New Zealand. It was planned for retirement in 2018, but that has since been extended to 2022, and then further to 2025.[1]


The map below shows the location of the plant, in Huntly, Waikato District, Waikato Region.

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Background on Plant

Huntly Power Station is New Zealand's largest thermal power station, and is owned and operated by Genesis Energy. It provides approximately 12% of New Zealand’s electricity generation.[2]

In 2007, the power station comprised four coal fired 250 megawatt generating units (Units 1-4), a 403 megawatt high-efficiency combined cycle gas turbine unit (Unit 5) and a 51 megawatt open cycle gas turbine (Unit 6).[3]

As of 2021 the original coal units are now able to run on both natural gas and coal.[4]

Coal retirements

In December 2012, Genesis Energy placed one of the four Huntly Power Station 250 MW coal-burning units into long-term storage.[5] In 2013, a second coal-fired generating unit was placed into storage,[6] and was permanently retired in June 2015.[7]

In August 2015 Genesis Energy announced that its last two 250 MW coal-burning units at the station (Units 3-4) will be permanently withdrawn from the market by December 2018, unless market conditions change significantly. Its coal supply contract with Solid Energy expires in June 2017. Electricity generation will continue at the Huntly site from the two existing gas-fueled units, the 400MW Unit 5, and the smaller 48 MW open cycle Unit 6.[8]

In April 2016, Genesis Energy announced that the Huntly Power Station would continue operation of its two remaining coal / gas burning units until December 2022.[9] The two gas turbine generators would continue to operate into the future.[10] In February 2018 Genesis further softened its stance on closing its coal operations, with a new date of 2025 for the company to stop using coal, except in the case of energy shortages, and a date of 2030 to stop using coal entirely.[11] "While it's all well and good that Genesis has made this announcement around its intentions, in reality the time to stop burning coal is now," said Green MP Gareth Hughes.[11]

In March 2022, Genesis conducted efficiency optimization tests on Unit 4. This involved running the unit on only gas for two weeks, followed by two weeks running only on coal.[12] When discussing their 2022 fiscal performance, the company stated that the Huntly power station could act as a backup resource when hydro (which provides the majority of New Zealand's generating capacity) and other renewable resources are less available.[13]

Coal Supply

Genesis Energy states that its total coal consumption in 2007 was 1.9 million tonnes.[14] Huntly Power Station sources the majority of its coal supplies from Solid Energy's nearby mines. In its 2007 annual report, Solid Energy states that it supplied 1.13 million tonnes to Genesis Energy for the power station, an increase of 181,000 tonnes on the previous year. In addition Solid Energy states that its "rail receival facility at Rotowaro handled 854,000 tonnes of Genesis’ Indonesian coal imports" which were either stockpiled or blended with our coals and delivered to Genesis’ conveyor system."[15]

In its annual report, Genesis Energy states that the company has "contracted the development of the 11 million tonnes Awaroa 4 mine. Imported supply extends from the coalfields of Kalimantan, Indonesia..."[15]

When running entirely on coal, the station could use over 3 million tonnes a year, some of which was imported through the Port of Tauranga.[16] In October 2021 Genesis announced that it would conduct a biomass-burning trial in 2022.[17]

Plant Details

  • Sponsor: Genesis Energy[4]
  • Parent company: Genesis Energy[18]
  • Location: Huntly, Waikato District, Waikato Region, New Zealand
  • Coordinates: -37.5444696, 175.148805 (exact)
  • Gross generating capacity (operating)[19][4]: 954 MW
    • Unit 3: Coal- and gas-fired, 250 MW[4] (start-up 1982-83)
    • Unit 4: Coal- and gas-fired, 250 MW[4] (start-up 1982-83)
    • Unit 5: Gas-fired[19] combined cycle[19][20], 403 MW[4] (start-up in 2007)[4][19]
    • Unit 6: Gas- and diesel-fired[19][4] open cycle gas turbine[19], 51 MW[4] (start-up in 2004)[4][19]
  • Gross generating capacity (retired): 500 MW
    • Unit 1: Coal-fired, 250 MW (start-up 1982-83)
    • Unit 2: Coal-fired, 250 MW (start-up 1982-83)
  • Coal Type: Subcritical

Citizen Groups

Articles and Resources


  1. Frances CookHuntly Power Station receives four year extension, NewsTalkZB, April 2016.
  2. Crown Minerals, "Overview: Industry snapshot", Ministry of Economic Development, April 29, 2008.
  3. Genesis Energy, "Genesis Energy in 2007: Annual Report", page 44.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 Our Generation Assets, Genesis Energy, accessed June 23, 2021
  5. "Genesis Power Limited Interim Report 2012/13". Genesis Energy.
  6. "Second Huntly coal/gas unit to be placed into storage". Genesis Energy.
  7. Genesis Energy (29 June 2015). "Second stored coal unit to retire". Press release.
  8. "Genesis Energy announces end to coal-fired generation in NZ," Genesis Energy Press Release, 6 August 2015
  9. Genesis Energy (28 April 2016). "Rankine units operational life extended". Press release.
  10. "Genesis Energy Limited (GNE) announces timetable to end coal-fired generation in New Zealand". Genesis Energy. 6 August 2015.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Our Inconvenient Truth: NZ will keep burning coal, Newsroom, Feb. 15, 2018
  12. "Statement: Rankine Unit 4 test programme", Genesis Energy, March 10, 2022
  13. "New Zealand aims for 100% renewables portfolio by 2030", S&P Global, May 9, 2022
  14. Genesis Energy, Genesis Energy in 2007: Annual Report, Annual Report 2007, page 34.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Solid Energy, "Annual Report 2007", page 16.(Large pdf)
  16. "Coal no longer king at Huntly Power Station," August 5, 2015
  17. sector has reached peak coal use, Genesis shareholders told, RNZ, Oct. 29, 2021
  18. Share Performance, Genesis Energy, accessed Jun 23, 2021
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 19.3 19.4 19.5 19.6 2020 Thermal Generation Stack Update Report, New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, Oct 29, 2020
  20. E3P 385MW CCGT at Huntly Unit 5, Power Technology

Related Resources

External Articles