Media Release: Hiringa Energy, New Plymouth District Council, and Venture Taranaki

Taranaki can take advantage of the move to a low-emissions economy with the development of the hydrogen industry, a new report finds.

The H2 Taranaki Roadmap, released today, looks at the potential for Taranaki to leverage its existing skills and infrastructure to become a global leader in hydrogen production and utilisation.

“New Zealand is moving to a low-emissions future, and that means we need to look at a wide range of options to support that transition,” says Justine Gilliland, Chief Executive of Venture Taranaki.

“As a region, we expect the global energy landscape to change, and we want to be part of that change. The H2 Taranaki Roadmap is part of a plan to help ensure Taranaki’s skills, experience, knowledge and infrastructure can maximise the opportunities this transition provides.”

The Roadmap identifies opportunities to apply the existing expertise within the region’s energy sector to the development of hydrogen production and utilisation.

Hydrogen can be utilised as a fuel, particularly for heavy vehicles, as a feedstock for products such as urea or methanol, or to store electrical energy for long periods of time from weeks to years.

“Hydrogen is already produced in Taranaki from natural gas. The Roadmap forecasts that in future it will be increasingly produced using electricity to split water, with the only emission being oxygen,” says Justine.

When renewable electricity is used the outcome is green hydrogen. The opportunity for New Zealand to produce green hydrogen has generated strong interest in export markets.

“Taranaki is perfectly positioned to leverage opportunities for the production of green hydrogen,” Justine says.
“We have significant water, wind and solar resources, existing hydrogen production infrastructure and expertise, and established energy generation and distribution infrastructure.”

“The development of a hydrogen industry will be further supported by the region’s industrial, service and operational industries, strong culture of health and safety, and deep-water port with easy access to export markets in Australia and Asia.”

“Hydrogen offers Taranaki an enormous economic opportunity to be extremely well positioned as we head into a low-emissions future. This Roadmap is a crucial first step, that builds on the region’s foundations, to remain globally competitive and meet the aspirations of a cleaner emissions future,” Justine says.

The report’s author, Andrew Clennett of Taranaki-based Hiringa Energy, is equally enthusiastic about the potential hydrogen could have in transitioning the regional economy.

“Taranaki is very fortunate with its natural resources, infrastructure, and the forward thinking and the leadership shown by our regional officials and industry.”

“Hiringa is enjoying working with progressive partners to develop a number of exciting projects that will help future-proof jobs in the region while contributing to New Zealand’s future energy needs,” Andrew says.

“We are facing many challenges with the energy transition ahead, requiring the community, businesses, regions and government to continue to work together. It is important that we act now to create and capture the opportunities this transition offers, ensuring we leave a positive legacy for our children.”

The Roadmap is the first of the projects released under Tapaue Roa, Taranaki’s Regional Economic Development Plan, and signals a strong response to future climate and economic challenges.

“Taranaki is at the forefront of the Just Transition and it’s exciting to be launching the H2 Taranaki Roadmap in New Plymouth, as part of our economic development strategy Tapuae Roa,” says Mayor of the New Plymouth District, Neil Holdom.
 
“Taranaki is the perfect region to lead from the front in helping New Zealand transition to a high value, low carbon economy, given our decades of history with the energy sector and the knowledge, skills and expertise we’ve developed,” Neil says.
 
View the H2 Taranaki Roadmap report and summary document here.