Huntly power station

From Global Energy Monitor

Huntly power station is an operating power station of at least 1204-megawatts (MW) in Huntly, Waikato, New Zealand with multiple units, some of which are not currently operating.


Table 1: Project-level location details

Plant name Location Coordinates (WGS 84)
Huntly power station Huntly, Waikato, Waikato, New Zealand -37.54447, 175.148805 (exact)[1]

The map below shows the exact location of the power station.

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Unit-level coordinates (WGS 84):

  • 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6: -37.54447, 175.148805

Project Details

Table 2: Unit-level details

Unit name Status Fuel(s) Capacity (MW) Technology CHP Start year Retired year
1 operating[2] coal: unknown, fossil gas: natural gas[3][4] 250[2][4] subcritical[4] not found 1983[4] 2035 (planned)[5]
2 operating[2][4] coal: unknown, fossil gas: natural gas[3][4] 250[4] subcritical[4] not found 1983[4] 2035 (planned)[4]
3 retired[4] coal: unknown, fossil gas: natural gas[5][4] 250[4] subcritical[4] not found 1984[4] 2012[4]
4 operating[4] coal: unknown, fossil gas: natural gas[4] 250[4] subcritical[4] not found 1983[4] 2035 (planned)
5 operating[4] fossil gas: natural gas[4] 403[2] combined cycle[6][4] not found 2007[4] 2037 (planned)[4]
6 operating[4] fossil gas: natural gas, fossil liquids: diesel[2][4] 51[2] gas turbine[4] not found 2004[4] 2029 (planned)[4]

CHP is an abbreviation for Combined Heat and Power. It is a technology that produces electricity and thermal energy at high efficiencies. Coal units track this information in the Captive Use section when known.

Table 3: Unit-level ownership and operator details

Unit name Owner Parent
1 Genesis Energy Ltd [100%][4] Genesis Energy Ltd [100.0%]
2 Genesis Energy Ltd [100%][4] Genesis Energy Ltd [100.0%]
3 Genesis Energy Ltd [100%][4] Genesis Energy Ltd [100.0%]
4 Genesis Energy Ltd [100%][4] Genesis Energy Ltd [100.0%]
5 Genesis Energy Ltd [100%][4] Genesis Energy Ltd [100.0%]
6 Genesis Energy Ltd [100%][4] Genesis Energy Ltd [100.0%]


Huntly power station is New Zealand's largest thermal power station, and is owned and operated by Genesis Energy.[7] It provides approximately 12% of New Zealand’s electricity generation.[8]

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).[9]

As of 2021, the original coal units were able to run on both natural gas and coal.[10]

The station was planned for retirement in 2018, but that was extended to 2022, and then further to 2025.[11]

In New Zealand's 2023 Energy Policy Review, it was stated that the plant would no longer use coal to generate electricity from 2025 onward - except in cases of emergency- and would stop burning coal entirely from 2030 onward.[12] However, in May 2024, Genesis was reportedly ramping up coal imports to fuel the Huntly power station amid a dwindling gas supply.[13]

Coal retirements

In December 2012, Genesis Energy placed one of the four Huntly Power Station 250 MW coal-burning units into long-term storage.[14] In 2013, a second coal-fired generating unit was placed into storage,[15] and was permanently retired in June 2015.[16]

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.[17]

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.[18] The two gas turbine generators would continue to operate into the future.[19] 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.[20] "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.[20]

In October 2021, Genesis announced that it would conduct a biomass-burning trial in 2022.[21]

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.[22] 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.[23]

In June 2022, a briefing on the biomass conversion trial called the plan "highly unrealistic". While being technically feasible, the transition would be costly and unsustainable.[24] In August 2022, the company cited that delays in the imported charcoal pellet supply chain were to blame for delays in a biomass trial at the Huntly power station. Genesis Energy's annual profits were allegedly up 600% in 2022.[25]

In December 2022, Genesis reported that Huntly was operating at record low levels. The company's interim Chief Executive stated that a biomass trial would be run in early 2023, and monthly average greenhouse gas emissions were down by over 90%. With increased focus on renewable energy generation, the Huntly power station was seen as only a backup to wind, solar and hydroelectric energy alternatives.[26]

Reporting in August 2023 quoted Genesis chief executive Malcolm Johns saying that "Huntly could still be burning coal for electricity during times of short supply in 10 years’ time, if not beyond then."[27] This was in contrast to the company's previous commitment to entirely stop burning coal by the year 2030.

Biomass combustion trials

A February 2023 media release from Genesis said that in the trial, about 25% more biomass (black wood pellets) was needed compared to the coal mass needed to produce the same quantity of electricity. [28]

In March 2023, it was reported that the station had just completed several "trials to demonstrate the technical viability for using 100% biomass as a renewable fuel option for the existing three Rankine units." [29] The trials were done using "black torrefied wood pellets." [29] At the time, it was reported that the trial was 'successful' insofar as the units were able to function for several hours burning only biomass, but that Genesis would continue to analyze the results of the trials over the following months, "including the critical issue of exploring the viability of a local and sustainable supply chain." [30]

Coal supply

Genesis Energy states that its total coal consumption in 2007 was 1.9 million tonnes.[31] 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."[32]

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..."[32]

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.[33]

In May 2024, Genesis was reportedly ramping up coal imports to account for a dwindling gas supply.[13] The decision to increase coal imports was praised by New Zealand's Associate Energy and Resources Minister Shane Jones, who commented "we are going to rely increasingly on coal because of the uncertainty of gas."[34]

Citizen Groups

External Articles

Articles and Resources


  1. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Archived from the original on 18 January 2023. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Archived from the original on 04 July 2024. {{cite web}}: Check date values in: |archive-date= (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 4.19 4.20 4.21 4.22 4.23 4.24 4.25 4.26 4.27 4.28 4.29 4.30 4.31 4.32 4.33 4.34 4.35 4.36 Archived from the original on 26 January 2023. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Archived from the original on 19 August 2022. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. Archived from the original on 29 November 2022. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. Share Performance, Genesis Energy, accessed Jun 23, 2021
  8. Crown Minerals, "Overview: Industry snapshot", Ministry of Economic Development, April 29, 2008.
  9. Genesis Energy, "Genesis Energy in 2007: Annual Report", page 44.
  10. Our Generation Assets, Genesis Energy, accessed June 23, 2021
  11. Frances CookHuntly Power Station receives four year extension, NewsTalkZB, April 2016.
  12. New Zealand 2023 Energy Policy Review, International Energy Agency, April 2023.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Genesis Energy to fire up coal imports amid dwindling gas supply, 1 News, May 8, 2024
  14. "Genesis Power Limited Interim Report 2012/13". Genesis Energy.
  15. "Second Huntly coal/gas unit to be placed into storage". Genesis Energy.
  16. Genesis Energy (29 June 2015). "Second stored coal unit to retire". Press release.
  17. "Genesis Energy announces end to coal-fired generation in NZ," Genesis Energy Press Release, 6 August 2015
  18. Genesis Energy (28 April 2016). "Rankine units operational life extended". Press release.
  19. "Genesis Energy Limited (GNE) announces timetable to end coal-fired generation in New Zealand". Genesis Energy. 6 August 2015.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Our Inconvenient Truth: NZ will keep burning coal, Newsroom, Feb. 15, 2018
  21. sector has reached peak coal use, Genesis shareholders told, RNZ, Oct. 29, 2021
  22. "Statement: Rankine Unit 4 test programme", Genesis Energy, March 10, 2022
  23. "New Zealand aims for 100% renewables portfolio by 2030", S&P Global, May 9, 2022
  24. Converting Huntly Power Plant to Biomass: Impacts on Forests and Climate, biofuelwatch, June 27, 2022
  25. Genesis Energy signals January price rise despite 600% profit jump,, August 19, 2022
  26. High rainfall boosts Genesis’ renewable generation, Genesis Energy, December 6, 2022
  27. Genesis posts ‘very strong’ result after 36% drop in generating costs and retail price rise, The Post, August 24, 2023
  28. Genesis’ biomass trial successful; will explore local production and supply chain, Genesis, Feb. 22, 2023
  29. 29.0 29.1 Web230302: Huntley power station transition from coal to biomass, Bioenergy Association, March 2, 2023
  30. Genesis completes Huntly biomass trial in search for alternatives to coal, gas, NZ Herald, Feb. 23, 2023
  31. Genesis Energy, Genesis Energy in 2007: Annual Report, Annual Report 2007, page 34.
  32. 32.0 32.1 Solid Energy, "Annual Report 2007", page 16.(Large pdf)
  33. "Coal no longer king at Huntly Power Station," August 5, 2015
  34. Shane Jones urges return to coal amid gas shortage, pushes for more fossil fuel extraction, News Hub, May 8, 2024

Additional data

To access additional data, including interactive maps of the power stations, downloadable datasets, and summary data, please visit the Global Coal Plant Tracker and the Global Oil and Gas Plant Tracker on the Global Energy Monitor website.