Low-emissions options for heavy transport a step closer

  • Hon Dr Megan Woods
  • Hon James Shaw
Climate Change Energy and Resources

Getting low-emission trucks on the road is a step closer with 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 will be located in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Manawatu, Auckland, Taupō, Wellington and Christchurch. These stations will begin to supply zero emission fuel to trucks, buses and commercial fleets from 2021. Hiringa estimates the initial network will provide coverage for about 95 per cent 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,” Megan Woods said.

“I’m delighted that as we develop our hydrogen strategy that we have such exciting hydrogen developments getting underway.”

The project is intended to build the foundation for a national network that facilitates the use of hydrogen for commercial and heavy transport fleets to decarbonise our transport sector.

The project’s success will 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. The network will also help stimulate significant private sector investment in zero emission heavy vehicles.

“Thanks to this Government, we have some of the most ambitious climate change targets in the world. We know that to meet those targets we have to reduce our emissions in every sector of the economy, including transport.

“Projects like this one are exactly type of the investments we need to be making in order to bend the curve of our emissions downwards, and to create a safer, cleaner planet for our children and grandchildren,” James Shaw said.

The initial development will provide skilled jobs in a high growth sector. The project will directly 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 Megan Woods.

The $20 million contribution from IRG will 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,” said Megan Woods.

  • The $69m project will involve the installation of 8 green hydrogen refuelling stations across key North Island and South Island freight routes.
  • Stations will be in Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Manawatu, Auckland, Taupō, Wellington and Christchurch.
  • Once the project is complete, stations will supply zero emissions fuel to truck and bus fleets and support the decarbonisation of the heavy transport sector.
  • The project is intended to create over 150+ local jobs in multiple industries and professions.
  • A successful project will unlock further private sector investment in a subsequent network expansion and zero emission heavy vehicles fleet adoption.

Note for Editors

The $50 billion COVID Response and Recovery Fund (CRRF) set out in Budget 2020 earmarked $3 billion for infrastructure projects. Ministers established the Infrastructure Reference Group (IRG) to work with local councils and businesses to identify a pipeline of projects to support the economy during the COVID-19 rebuild. Cabinet then decided the key sectors and regional breakdown of funds with more than 150 projects worth $2.6 billion being approved in principal.

These sectors are (excluding a $400m contingency)

  • Housing and urban development: $464m
  • Environmental: $460m
  • Community and social development: $670m
  • Transport (cycleways, walkways, ports and roads): $708m

The approximate regional breakdown is:

  • Auckland region                      $500 million
  • Bay of Plenty Region              $170 million
  • Canterbury                              $300 million
  • East Coast                              $106 million
  • Hawke’s Bay                           $130 million
  • Manawatu/Whanganui            $140 million
  • Northland                                $150 million
  • Otago                                      $260 million
  • Southland                                 $90 million
  • Taranaki                                    $85 million
  • Top of the South                       $85 million
  • Waikato                                   $150 million
  • Wellington region                    $185 million
  • West Coast                               $90 million

The IRG investments will help kick-start the post-COVID rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand. They are in addition to the $12 billion New Zealand Upgrade Programme and existing Provincial Growth Fund investments.