Hamilton protest against Genesis Energy, 16 July 2021

21 Jul

Meeting with Genesis

As he has done on two previous occasions, Mark Titchener, from Auckland Climate Action, took up the offer to meet with a senior Genesis executive:

“During the protest, a Genesis executive, Tracey Hickman, (see below) came out to greet us all, and to invite further conversation.. With all other hands on banners, I obliged and we proceeded to the entrance foyer cafe. She introduced herself and explained her role in the company, pretty much along the lines of the description below. She further explained that she sat at the top table with Marc England and would like to be able to convey a message back to Marc, who was apparently away on a ski holiday with family! This was very relaxed and, I think, fruitful and constructive exchange.

After filling in some of my background, and what it was our protest was about, she said she got the message and was respectful of our position. She went on to claim that “Genesis was moving as quickly as it could but it would never be quickly enough for us”. We touched on the irony of the recent Genesis roll out of the “electric truck” to deliver “fossil gas”. I suggested this was simply an example of the greenwashing Genesis’ was undertaking… she herself recognised the irony of the situation.

Tracey acknowledged the wholesale market is currently not working, but I went on to suggest that the competitive positions of the players in the market together with the government shareholdings were an impediment to addressing climate impacts.

I made the point that, currently, generation capacity is an issue and that the burning of coal is profitable for all in these circumstances… I mentioned that the storage options and hydrogen projects being considered by the government would represent additional net consumption of electricity making the generation capacity problem worse, not better. In the current market structure what was needed was more low cost generation capacity, including distributed as well as grid scale solar, but that the companies desire for profit meant they appeared to be actively dissuading uptake. In this respect the market appears to be rigged against the best interests of the nation.

Tracy, not unexpectedly, felt competition was a good thing in the market, that it brings about rapid change which she believes is what we need to address the climate. I pointed out that the industry operating in competition was about profit, market share, and identifying growth opportunities for expansion, all counter to addressing the climate issues. I attempted to explain that what was needed was a co-operative approach in which we brought all the market players together and got them to understand that a different structure is required to meet the climate targets.

Thus I put to her a proposal, that we would value a face-to -ace meeting with industry leaders, including Marc, Alison Andrew (Transpower CEO), etc, and have a chance to present to them the key aspects of the science and co-operative business alternatives that are based on the science. I mentioned that in my last meeting with Marc, he was focused on a 1.5°C limit that was no longer feasible, that Genesis’ signing up to the iSBT (Science-Based Targets) was an international commercial branding exercise, and that the iSBT web has no substantive basis in science that I could identify.

By claiming as it does to be committed to iSBT Science-Based Targets brand, it is misleading people. (A water bottling company has also signed on to the iSBT branding.. How silly is that? Emissions-free drinking water!)

Tracey was keen to take my proposal back to Marc. It remains to be seen what response we get.

She made a number of further notes. We talked about setting up links to appropriate information sources on their intranet for internal staff education, though she seemed to want to do this more as part of the companies public face… more marketing … sounded too much like their school-gen trust … more greenwashing to me.

The exchange appeared to pique her personal interest in addition to her engagement in her official capacity, and so we had quite a wide ranging discussion about various aspects of energy generally and climate. This is hopeful.

Lets see what happens… It has to be said that both Marc England and Tracey Hickman appear ready and willing to engage, but just how much of this is placatory remains to be seen.


Tracey Hickman MA (Hons), Chief Customer Officer:
Tracey Hickman joined the Genesis Executive Team in 2012 as General Manager Generation. In 2019, she took on a new portfolio as Executive General Manager Retail Operations. Prior to her current role, Tracey led Genesis’ Generation, Wholesale and Fuels portfolio businesses as Executive General Manager.
On 1 September, 2020, Tracey takes up the role of Chief Customer Officer. Tracey is accountable for the Genesis Retail brand, LPG operations and a range of retail support functions for the whole business.
She brings over 25 years of energy sector experience to the Executive team, having begun her career with the Electricity Corporation of New Zealand, managing large scale environmental reconsenting projects.

Fonterra protest, 28 May 2021

29 May

Loads of support from motorists

9 Oct

The Auckland Climate Action protest at Ellerslie Train Station foot bridge today received loud approval from passing motorist on the highway. We are pleased to have raised awareness and were surprised at how many people tooted their encouragement. It is time for the Government and Genesis to realise how much support there is from the general population for a complete transition away from coal and towards sustainable energy.

Join our Huntly Power Station Protest

6 Oct

Please support our protest  HUNTLY POWER STATION MUST CLOSE on the 9 th of October 2020 against the continued burning of coal by Genesis Energy. We will meet at the corner of Great South Road and Park Avenue, Penrose at 3 o’clock, from where we will march to Genesis. At 4 o’clock we will march from Genesis over the footbridge to Ellerslie Train Station. We will be displaying  banners on the pedestrian bridge over the highway and hand out printed brochures to commuters at the Ellerslie Train Station. 

Please meet and support our action for a transition to sustainable energy. You are welcome to bring chalk and protest signs.

Groups Plan To Stop Minerals Forum Next Month

28 Sep

Church groups, students, climate activists, anti-mining protectors and individuals from across the country have announced they plan to stop this year’s Minerals Forum in Hamilton next month to highlight the destruction of mining, drilling and resource extraction that is killing our planet. They are calling on people to join them.


Big jump in coal fired electricity

29 Aug

The dirtiest electricity is on the rise again, with 62 per cent more coal burned to generate electricity in 2019, compared to the year before.


Jeanette Fitzsimons Virtual Memorial

11 Jul



2 Aug

The recent announcement that Fonterra might convert from coal to gas is definitely not a move in the right direction. It may in fact be worse than coal.

The burning of what is largely methane, in energy terms, produces about half the CO2 of coal and this fact is used to suggest that the switch to natural gas constitutes a reduction in emissions, but this comparison conveniently ignores the leakage of methane during the extraction, processing and transport. The industry often suggest rates of less than 1% … However a 1% leakage of methane with a GHGe impact some 80 times that of CO2 (over a 20 year period) one can readily verify that the “well-to-wheel” impacts of using gas are worse than that of using coal in global warming effects.

More recent research puts the leakage rates at between 4-9%, so considerably worse than the Industry estimates. The evidence is that fracking in the US in particular has greatly accelerated GHG emissions and this global temperature rises are accelerating as a result of this industry shift.

All of the methane ultimately over time becomes CO2… 1 tonne of methane (CH4) results in approx three tonnes of CO2 … four Hydrogen each with molecular weight 1 is replaced by two Oxygen each with molecular weight 16, Carbon having a molecular weight of 14.

Leakage of natural gas from a single event hit an all time record in 2015 with the Aliso Canyon leak in Californian and requiring the evacuation of thousands.


But there are many other significant leakage which are arguably a result of the the oil and gas industry https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Corners_Methane_Hot_Spot “However NASA researchers concluded in 2016 that oil and gas production and distribution activities were principally responsible for the methane releases”

The idea that gasses may be safely sequestered into underground natural geological structures is in serious question… as is the suggestion CCS (carbon capture and sequestration) is at all possible or practical, energy costs aside.

It is for such reasons that our attention to Huntly should address not just coal but indeed Genesis’ move to gas… Meeting industrial heat requirements will be challenging for companies like Fonterra, but there is absolutely no excuse for the electricity industry not to embrace wind and solar, both capable of undercutting coal and gas cost in the generation of electricity. Storage options are available and proven, albeit at a price.

Should they be converting to electric or wood chips rather than gas?”

It should be thermal solar, augmented by PV solar and wind with suitable energy storage (zeolite looks interesting as a lossless store for heat energy). I don’t believe any sort of burning or combustion process is appropriate.. Its a moot point as to whether wood chips are any more sustainable, than coal, oil or gas. Have just watched a DW video exposing how the FSC accreditation of wood product has been seriously subverted by the timber industry… same sort of dishonesty that pervades the fossil fuel industry.



31 Jul



Fonterra moving in right direction.

25 Jul

Fonterra moving in right direction, but much faster action needed

Fonterra’s recent announcement that it will be installing no new coal boilers from now on is a significant step in the right direction, but does not result in any immediate reduction in coal use. Coal boilers can have a life of more than 30 years, so phasing out of coal by this step alone would be far too slow. Much faster action is needed by Fonterra to reduce its emissions.

The recent IPCC report (Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 degrees C, October 2019) says that emissions need to fall globally by around 45% below 2010 figures by 2030, but it also says that coal emissions need to fall by around 67% by that date. As a developed country with the necessary expertise and resources, we should be aiming considerably higher than this. A complete phase-out of coal by 2030, or even by 2025, needs to be seriously considered.

Fonterra has other options. For example, a lot of off-cuts from forestry that could be used to power boilers currently go to waste. Trees and other biomass can also be specifically grown to supply fuel. This is an environmentally sustainable way of operating provided there is re-planting as the energy sources are used.

Natural gas is not a good alternative because use of this fossil fuel also needs to rapidly fall. But from an environmental point of view, moving to electricity is a good option because around 80% of the energy currently comes from renewable resources and we have the potential to increase this rapidly towards 100%, if the right steps are taken.

One reason coal and other fossil fuels are still widely used is that they appear to be low cost options. But this doesn’t factor in the cost of the damage caused. The recent IPCC report estimates the damage cost at above US$100 per tonne of CO2 (about NZ$150 / tonne CO2). New Zealand’s Productivity Commission has already concluded that we should price emissions to reflect their harm (Low Emissions Economy, final report, August 2018). Hence, we believe New Zealand’s carbon charges need to rapidly rise to at least this level. It would be prudent for Fonterra to plan on this basis.

So, in summary, it is good that Fonterra has taken this step, but it also needs to immediately start making major reductions in its coal use.