There is still a need for coal, both in New Zealand and globally. Until there are affordable, accessible, readily available alternatives, supply must remain.
It is worth noting that without coal, there will be no steel. New Zealand’s biggest source of steel, New Zealand Steel, uses New Zealand coal and produces around 65% of the steel used in New Zealand.
Coal underpins other industries and energy security.
Thermal coal has an important role in maintaining the international competitiveness of our agriculture sector – dairy in particular – and in domestic food production. This will change as advances in technology allow and as competitors take on the cost of reducing emissions.
As a back up to renewable sources, coal also plays an essential role in providing energy security in New Zealand during our many severe weather events. Lightning strikes can halt gas processing and gale-force winds, or no wind, can reduce wind farm output, a dry winter can mean low water levels on hydro lakes leaving coal-fired generation to meet temporary needs.
Straterra acknowledges the global imperative of reducing carbon emissions and the actions taken by New Zealand in concert with the rest of the world. However, ending coal mining in New Zealand will not reduce New Zealand or global demand for coal nor help achieve emission reductions internationally. In fact, competing countries typically have lower environmental standards and less regulatory oversight than New Zealand so environmental impacts could worsen as production moves to other countries. This also applies to coal and we would need to import for energy intensive businesses in New Zealand.