THE GENESIS GAME
RECONNECTING GENESIS ENERGY TO THE PEOPLE
Genesis Energy is stepping up to its vital role in securing New Zealand's energy future.
Some might say that Genesis Energy got the environmental short straw when it was created by the break up of the Electricity Corporation of New Zealand back in 1999: it got left holding Huntly Power Station. With a current output of 1000 megawatts from coal/gas and 448 megawatts from gas, it is New Zealand’s largest fossilfuelled power station and chuffs out more than half of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions from power generation. Some of its detractors might even be heartened to know that just four years ago Genesis Energy was a company that was struggling to see its own future in a business defined by its ability to see into the nation’s future energy needs. For too long it had tended to live up to its ‘grey man’ image of a company that related to its customers mostly with arms-length call centres and envelopes with windows in them and bills too complicated to understand. Chief executive Albert Brantley said: “We work in an industry that has long been dominated by engineers building bigger and better ‘toys’ in the form of new and better power stations, with supporting assets such as transmission lines. We have traditionally been consumed with management of these assets and recovery of the investment for this infrastructure that is most often measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars.” The result, according to Brantley, was: “We were not connecting with customers. People generally didn’t want to interact with their power company. We were not thought of as ‘loveable’ people, despite what our families may think. We kept customers at arm’s length. We talked to them through call centres, many of which were outsourced to contractors, which made establishing relationships even more difficult.” But not any more, because in just a few short years the company has transformed its self-image, placed its customers at the centre of its business and brought customer contact in-house, while re-stating its vital mission for New Zealand. With billions of dollars worth of assets, and a lot of bright thinking already inside the company, there was plenty to work with. For example, running Huntly comes with an undeniably significant environmental responsibility. But it can be generating up to one fifth of the nation’s power at any one time, and forms one of the main backups to ensure a stable energy supply while we make the transition to more renewable sources of energy. New Zealand has an enviable record of nearly 75% renewable electricity generation, but we still have a long way to go in managing the orderly reduction in greenhouse gas emissions required to meet our international obligations. Huntly has had to be an important part of that story, and will remain so for years to come. But Huntly is by no means the whole of Genesis Energy’s story. The company is now pushing forward some of the most forward-thinking innovations to increase efficient, sustainable energy generation and use throughout the country.