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Government lays out its vision for hydrogen's place in New Zealand's future

The Government has announced a national vision for hydrogren, which Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods says is a tool to point towards a more renewable future.

Today, the Government launched a Green Paper - A Vision for Hydrogen in New Zealand - which lays out the role hydrogen can play in New Zealand’s economy, and what can be done to accelerate its use.

"Today’s launch is another step in the Government’s plan to tackle the long term challenge of reducing emissions to fight climate change," Ms Woods said.

The paper says hydrogen can be either compressed or liquefied similar to natural gas which is mainly methane, then be used to fuel vehicles or stationary plants which are fitted with fuel cells or internal combustion engines, for heat by direct combustion or fuel cells, to generate electricity in dedicated hydrogen gas turbines, to replace carbon in industrial processes such as steel production, and for energy storage.

Car refuelling with hydrogen (file picture). Source: istock.com

"Reducing carbon emissions from our energy use is one of the key ways we can fight the long term challenge of climate change," Ms Woods said. "I consider green hydrogen as one of the potential tools that will help assist us to reduce global emissions."

She said with hydrogren, there was an opportunity to create new jobs, convert heavy transport away from fossil fuels, enhance security of electricity supply and generate significant export revenue.

"For a country blessed with abundant renewable energy, the ability to convert our clean electricity into green hydrogen which can fetch a premium on global markets is a major economic opportunity.

"There’s already clear international interest in hydrogen sourced from New Zealand. Last year, we signed a world-first memorandum of co-operation with Japan to encourage collaboration between us on hydrogen initiatives."

Ms Woods added that there had also been investment in hydrogen locally, mentioning a project to produce commercial-scale green hydrogen in Taranaki and a partnership to construct a pilot hydrogen production facility using geothermal electricity near Tāupo.

She said the paper was part of a renewable energy strategy work programme looking to address barriers to investment in new renewable energy as New Zealand looks to reach 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2035 and to transition to a clean, green and carbon neutral economy by 2050.

Submissions on the paper close at 5pm on October 25.

Megan Woods. Source: 1 NEWS