Getting low-emission trucks on New Zealand roads is a step closer with a multi-million dollar investment in infrastructure to support hydrogen vehicles, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced.
The Infrastructure Reference Group has provisionally approved $20 million for New Plymouth company Hiringa Energy to establish a nationwide network of hydrogen-fuelling stations.
Initial stations would be located in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Manawatu, Auckland, Taupō, Wellington and Christchurch and it’s envisaged they’ll begin to supply zero emission fuel to trucks, buses and commercial fleets from 2021.
Hiringa Energy has estimated the initial network would provide coverage for about 95% of heavy freight routes in the North Island and 82% of the South Island.
“This is an exciting development that can kick start the use of hydrogen as a low-emissions transport fuel for New Zealand’s energy future,” Minister Woods said.
“I’m delighted that as we develop our hydrogen strategy that we have such exciting hydrogen developments getting underway.”
She said the project would create the foundation for a national network that facilitates the use of hydrogen for commercial and heavy transport fleets to decarbonise the transport sector.
The Minister said the project’s success would also unlock further investment in a network expansion across both the North and South Island, ensuring green hydrogen refuelling becomes available for all key industrial and heavy transport hubs throughout New Zealand.
“It’s hoped the network will also help stimulate significant private sector investment in zero emission heavy vehicles.”
Ms Woods said the project would create over 50 permanent jobs and over 100 contractor and vendor jobs across the regions.
“As the network is subsequently expanded there will be direct employment for over 300 workers across New Zealand. It will build hydrogen technical capability in New Zealand and create opportunities for equipment manufacturing, operations and maintenance, and future technology exports.”
“Hydrogen is a great opportunity to decarbonise our heavy vehicle fleet and lessen our reliance on imported fuels like petroleum and diesel. It also opens us opportunities to produce hydrogen to meet our energy needs,” said Ms Woods.
She said the $20 million contribution from IRG would leverage a further $49 million from Hiringa Energy, joint venture partners and other private investors for the project.
“This ground-breaking project supports the Government’s vision for hydrogen in New Zealand, and will help to establish a viable hydrogen industry in New Zealand.”