New Zealand power firms eye green hydrogen opportunity

Contact Energy and Meridian Energy, two prominent power companies based in New Zealand, are investigating the feasibility of producing green hydrogen near an aluminium smelter site in the South Island.

Mining firm Rio Tinto revealed its plans to close New Zealand Aluminium Smelters, better known as Tiwai Point, earlier this year, citing high energy costs and a challenging industry outlook. Operations are understood to be wound down by 2024.

Contact and Meridian are together carrying out a $2m feasibility study to produce hydrogen in Southland and to establish a new green industry in the region.

“We have each been monitoring hydrogen economics for some time. Hydrogen is emerging as the only real option for the transportation of renewable electricity around the world and to decarbonise specific sectors including heavy transport and industrial processes,” James Kilty, Deputy CEO of Contact Energy, and Guy Waipara, General Manager Development of Meridian Energy, told H2 View.

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