Government welcomes Fonterra’s speedy moves away from coal

The Government has welcomed Fonterra’s commitment today to speed up its transition away from using coal.

“To have this commitment from Fonterra, on top of the recent commitment by them and other primary sector organisations to farm-level emissions pricing, shows that business and Government working together can result in serious action to tackle climate change,” Minister for Climate Change James Shaw said. 

“Fonterra is one of the largest users of coal in New Zealand, after the Huntly Power Station, so moving to immediately stop installing new coal boilers and start to convert existing boilers to renewable energy sources is a great step,” James Shaw said.

Fonterra is a member of the Climate Leaders Coalition of 100 major companies and has committed to science-based targets for reducing its emissions in line with the Paris Agreement goal of preventing catastrophic climate change.

“Fonterra’s commitment not to install any new coal boilers or increase its capacity to burn coal shows real leadership and acknowledges that industry has a major role to play in helping New Zealand reap the rewards from becoming a clean, green carbon-neutral economy,” Minister of Energy and Resources Megan Woods said.

“Process heat is the second-highest source of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions behind transport.

“Fonterra had previously pledged not to install any new coal boilers by 2030. So bringing forward that deadline provides certainty and potentially saves an increase in emissions.

“As the Interim Climate Change Committee’s Accelerated Electrification report highlighted, a focus on lowering emissions from process heat – the energy used for commercial and industrial processes, manufacturing or heating – should be a priority to decarbonise the economy, and we support its recommendation to strongly encourage the phasing out of fossil fuels for process heat.

“The Government has been working with large energy users to encourage them to use less coal or switch to lower-emission energy sources.

“We want to see industry use renewable fuels rather than fossil fuels and we’ll be consulting on options to encourage energy efficiency and the switch to renewable energy sources later this year.

“Fonterra’s move serves as a practical example to other industry about the action required to transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy for industrial heat,” Megan Woods said.