Energy retailer Genesis has joined the New Zealand Hydrogen Association as part of its focus on supporting New Zealand’s transition to a lower carbon future.

New Zealand already has the third highest renewable electricity generation in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and electricity generation makes up just 4% of the country’s total carbon emissions.

As well as being an emerging fuel for vehicles, if nascent hydrogen technology is proven, it could offer potential deep energy storage for the electricity sector.

“We’re on the cusp of understanding the viability of a hydrogen economy and hydrogen’s potential as a carbon-free fuel for New Zealand,” said Tracey Hickman, Executive General Manager of Wholesale and Generation at Genesis.

“Membership of the New Zealand Hydrogen Association brings Genesis and like-minded organisations together to explore how hydrogen could become an economically feasible fuel for New Zealand, or potentially even exported.”

“It’s very early days, but we believe that if hydrogen technology continues to improve, the technology may in time form part of an alternative to the electricity sector relying on back up from thermal generation.”

Part of this potential could be managing the variable output from renewables, like wind and solar, to meet the electricity needs of New Zealanders.

“Looking beyond our own operations, we see the national electricity sector playing an important role in enabling decarbonisation of higher emission sectors like transportation and industrial processing,” says Ms Hickman.

“We believe the New Zealand Hydrogen Association will help fast forward awareness of hydrogen’s potential at a national level and grow relationships between commercial operators and suppliers that could enable hydrogen’s viability as a sustainable fuel source.”

The New Zealand Hydrogen Association was formed in September 2018 by private sector companies with seed funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.