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Genesis Commits To Aggressive 1.5°C Science-based Emissions Targets

Genesis has committed to removing at least 1.2m tonnes of annual carbon emissions over the next five years tied to an international benchmark of limiting global warming to below 1.5°C by 2025.

From a 2020 base, Genesis is aiming to reduce generation emissions by more than 36% (scope 1 and 2) and emissions from the use of products it sells by more than 21% (scope 3). These targets will result in total carbon reductions (Scope 1, 2 and 3) of at least 1.2m tonnes per annum, with an ambition to remove more than that. The 1.2m tonnes is equal to removing more than 272,000 petrol cars from the road for one year.

The plans have been verified by the internationally recognised Science Based Targets initiative* (SBTi). Outside of Europe, Genesis is the only electricity generator and retailer to tie targets to 1.5°C with the SBTi.

Chief Executive, Marc England, said removing the amount of carbon aligned to the 1.5°C benchmark instead of one linked to 2°C is a significant challenge for the business.

“Signing up to a science-based target will help set priorities, focus our thinking, planning and drive innovation from generation through to how our customers manage and use their energy,” Mr England said. “Genesis has always played a role backing up New Zealand’s highly renewable electricity system, however, we can and will do more to remove emissions from baseload thermal generation, while still ensuring the system is backed up in times of low lakes or no wind.”

The largest energy retailer in the country, Genesis has refreshed its strategy in line with the commitments. The goal is to economically displace baseload thermal electricity generation with reliable and affordable renewable electricity to support the country’s transition to a low carbon future.

To deliver on that, Genesis is aiming to secure 2,650 GWh per annum of renewable electricity generation by 2030, with the majority before 2025. The first step toward that happened late last month when Genesis took the first electricity from the Waipipi windfarm in South Taranaki, the first windfarm built here since 2014. When fully operational toward the end of next quarter, it will deliver 433 GWh of zero emissions electricity annually. This is enough clean energy to save up to 250,000 tonnes of carbon, equivalent to removing approximately 55,000 petrol cars from New Zealand roads.

“Our Future-gen strategy will ensure NZ’s electricity system moves from the current 84% renewable to well over 90%,” Mr England said. “However, rather than rush to 100% Renewable Electricity at an extremely high cost, we see an even bigger opportunity for our low carbon electricity system to decarbonise other sectors of the economy, in particular, the energy used in transport, manufacturing and industrial processes, which are carbon intensive.”

“As the country considers a path to being zero carbon by 2050 it is critical to think about the whole energy mix, not just electricity. Already, 84% of the electricity produced in New Zealand is from renewable sources and growing. Understanding the interdependencies between sectors, applying systems thinking and not operating in silos are all important to the country transitioning to a low carbon future.”

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* The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is a partnership between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). It is based in the United States and is globally recognised for defining best practice in emissions reductions and net-zero targets in line with climate science.

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