The plant, as one of the biggest carbon dioxide greenhouse gas generators in the country, contributing over half of New Zealand's emissions of greenhouse gases from electricity generation, has repeatedly drawn the ire of environmentalists and has been the focus of associated protests. A 2006 government report outlining future climate change mitigation and energy policies was seen by the operator as a sign that the plant might have to be closed by 2015 under these plans, with around 10 years of design life still remaining. It was also noted that, apart from being difficult to replace as a source of power (due to New Zealand's annually growing generation demand, especially around Aucklnd), such a decision would also be uneconomical for the foreseeable future, even if coal prices were to rise.
In May 2012, resource consent was granted by the Waikato Regional Council to continue running the gas and coal units for a period of 25 years. This shows that the Huntly Power Station can continue to have a strategic long term role in New Zealand energy generation.
In April 2016, Genesis Energy announced that the Huntly Power Station would continue operation of its two remaining coal / gas burning units until December 2022. The two gas turbine generators would continue to operate into the future.