KAPUNI GREEN HYDROGEN PROJECT
A PIONEERING DECARBONISATION PROJECT HARNESSING OUR NATURAL
WIND RESOURCES IN TARANAKI
This innovative project involves the construction of four new wind turbines.
The turbines will supply renewable electricity directly to Ballance's Kapuni site and electricity to the grid, with the ability to provide renewable electricity up to 24,000 homes during peak times.
Electricity will also be used to produce green hydrogen by electrolysis that can be made at flexible times such as off peak times.
The zero emission green hydrogen supply will be used to replace imported diesel used for heavy transport and at the Ballance plant.
The project creates a reliable and flexible volume supply of green hydrogen at a competitive price, removing a key barrier to adoption of the technology.
Hydrogen fuel cells vehicles are one of the only viable zero emission solutions available for heavy fleet operators today, and can have a material impact on emissions. The project not only enables the development of a transport market for green hydrogen, but also the trial of new technology applications including on farm solutions.
The Ballance plant provides a steady use for the hydrogen as the transport market develops while also decarbonising the production of urea. The urea produced will displace imported urea. Currently over two thirds of the urea used for agriculture in New Zealand is imported. This imported urea is made from fossil fuels and has high GHG emissions footprint.
The turbines will be situated on Parininihi Ki Waitotara (PKW) land south of the Ballance Kapuni plant.
The electrolysers will be located at the Ballance Kapuni plant.
An underground high voltage cable will connect the turbines to the electrolyser plant.
LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW THIS PIONEERING PROJECT WILL BENEFIT OUR REGION, COMMUNITY AND OUR FUTURE GENERATIONS TO COME.
INCREASED RENEWABLE ENERGY GENERATION
By combining the latest wind turbine technology with an outstanding wind resource, the project increases the availability of renewable electricity generation in South Taranaki and materially contributes to greening of the region’s power.
The integration with hydrogen production provides a flexible load enabling efficient use of our existing electrical infrastructure. During peak times, the turbines have the ability to provide renewable electricity for up to 24,000 homes.
SUPPORT FOR A LOW CARBON HEAVY VEHICLE FLEET
The project will provide an important, flexible source of green hydrogen for Hiringa’s refuelling network that is currently being established across Aotearoa to enable the use of green hydrogen fuel-cell technology in heavy transport, displacing imported liquid fossil fuels with clean energy.
Hiringa is currently building four high capacity refuelling stations to service the heavy transport market and provide a zero emission alternative to transport operators and users.
Hiringa's recent press release is available here
REDUCED RELIANCE ON IMPORTED UREA MADE WITH FOSSIL FUELS
Aotearoa currently imports over 67% of its urea consumption.
This urea is predominantly manufactured in the Middle East from ammonia produced from natural gas and in China from coal. Imported urea will be substituted with lower emission domestically produced urea and result in a significant reduction in emissions.
Urea is also a crucial additive that reduces the emissions of modern heavy diesel vehicles sold as AdBlue and GoClear in New Zealand.
The project will provide direct employment during construction, commissioning and operations. It will provide skill development in renewable and zero emission technologies that will be essential for New Zealand to decarbonise. Local contractors will be used wherever possible.
The supply of renewable electricity, green hydrogen and oxygen provide the foundation for the development of spin-off industries and companies.
Ballance Agri-Nutrients plant is a major employer in South Taranaki supporting hundreds of local contractors. The project represents a pathway to retain highly skilled technical jobs in the region required to support Aotearoa's broader decarbonisation.
IMPROVED REGIONAL ECONOMIC DIVERSITY/RESLIENCE
The Taranaki regional economy is heavily reliant on a few sectors, such as dairy and oil & gas, resulting in a lack of diversity and resilience. The project helps improve regional economic diversity, and creates spin off opportunities for others – specifically, the project provides a local supply green hydrogen to trial clean energy use in other applications such as domestic gas networks and on farm technologies, plus provides a supply of oxygen that may be used for aquaculture.
INVESTMENT SIGNAL EFFECTS
The project signals that Taranaki is a dynamic, adaptive, and forward-thinking regional economy, which may encourage other regional businesses to also invest and develop new innovative clean products and projects.
WHY IS THE PROJECT IMPORTANT?
Approximately 60% of New Zealand’s energy needs are currently met by fossil fuels.
New Zealand has committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and green hydrogen is key to decarbonizing difficult sectors such as commercial and heavy transport and industrial chemicals.
However, our decarbonisation performance over the past 20 years has been poor.
The time to start the difficult journey towards a lower emission economy is now.
The project's unique proximity to an ammonia plant and a significant wind resource will demonstrate that the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy to decarbonise industrial processes and heavy transport is technically and commercially viable.
While this project is limited to four turbines in the current location, it is a key early step in the region and Aotearoa's emission reduction journey, as it will provide learnings and the market development required to support larger renewable and decarbonisation projects.
Projects like this take many years to develop and consent, and this is one first projects ready for construction that couples wind generation with hydrogen production, creating new technical capability and new skilled jobs and opportunities in Aotearoa.
Watch the video below to learn more about how this project will provide
opportunities for our region and our community.
Project initiated with
Introduction of project to Ngāruahine Board.
Conditional approval for NZ Government investment in project.
Independent studies commenced to support consent process.
for fast track consent process.
Siteworks & construction
Turbine components arrive on site & erection begins.
Turbines functional. Green hydrogen available.
Wind monitoring begins.
Last year’s COP26 event has again highlighted the challenges we face as a planet and the need to act with urgency and material commitment to reduce our emissions. With over 60% of Aotearoa's energy needs still being met by predominantly imported fossil fuels, we still have a way to go before we achieve a low-emissions economy.
The project's genesis was during the Taranaki economic development strategy in 2016, with the investigation of new ideas and industries that could supplement and diversify Taranaki's economy. This thinking was developed further in 2017 with the development of the H2 Taranaki initiative and made more urgent by the ban on new oil and gas exploration. Work in earnest began in 2017/2018 and culminated in a joint development agreement signed early in 2019. Engagement with the community, Iwi, mana whenua hapu and landowners continued through 2019 and 2020. The project was successful in securing investment support from the New Zealand government via the Provincial Development nit, receiving application approval in Dec 2019.
The project was referred to the expert consent panel for consideration under the Fast Track Consenting Act by Minister Parker in Feb 2020, noting that the project to provide an accelerated consenting process with the project having potential to:
provide employment during construction;
provide Infrastructure to contribute to Improve economic and employment outcomes;
assist and improve environmental outcomes for air quality form emissions generated from natural gas at the Ballance Kapuni plant; and
assist and improve environmental outcomes for air quality form emissions generated from transport through utilisation of green hydrogen.
The consenting process is rigorous and involved multiple independent assessments. The reports can be found here.
In December 2021, the project received consent from the independent panel.
The Kapuni plant is the only ammonia production facility in New Zealand, producing a third of the urea consumed in NZ. The remainder of urea consumed is imported from the Middle East (from gas) and China (from coal) with significant emissions being generated through the product lifecycle. Current domestic production from Kapuni plant involves a 15-50% reduction in the lifecycle emissions in comparison to the imported product that is being substituted. Any incremental urea produced from green hydrogen from this project will further reduce the carbon footprint by as much as 90% in comparison to the imported urea it is replacing.
Providing green hydrogen to the Kapuni plant crucially provides bankable offtakes for electricity and hydrogen, enabling the project to happen. Over time, as the transport market for green hydrogen grows the project is incentivised to divert the green hydrogen production to heavy transport.