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Unpacking the Future: Meridian's Southern Green Hydrogen Project

You may have heard in the news recently recently about some exciting developments in the realm of clean energy in Aotearoa - Meridian's Southern Green Hydrogen Project. With the recent selection of Woodside Energy as the preferred partner, things are gearing up for the next stage, and it's shaping up to be a game-changer for the region and the country.

Not an actual photo of the hydrogen plant*

A Boost for the Local Economy and Beyond

Neil Barclay, CEO of Meridian, has big visions for the project. He sees it as a catalyst for accelerating the development of a domestic hydrogen economy, which is crucial for decarbonising our transport and industrial sectors. But that's not all – the project is also poised to create new opportunities in an emerging industry, bringing benefits to the local community and providing a significant chunk of New Zealand’s dry year flexibility needs to the electricity sector. That's a win-win if we've ever seen one!

Ngāi Tahu: More Than Just a Commercial Interest

Ta Tipene O’Regan, a leader within Ngāi Tahu, expressed his excitement about the partnership with Woodside. But he also made it clear that their interest in the project goes beyond the commercial aspect. It’s about the long-term social and environmental sustainability of the rohe (region). Any future developments need to meet the highest standards and deliver real value to the community, and that’s a philosophy we can all get behind.

Preparing the Workforce

Terry Nicholas from Murihiku Regeneration touched on an important aspect – the need for education and training to ensure that the local whānau can fully participate in this energy transition. It's a reminder that while such projects bring many benefits, there’s also a responsibility to prepare the workforce and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to be a part of this exciting new chapter.

Looking Forward: Production Goals and Possibilities

With a target to produce 500,000 tonnes per year of ammonia through electrolysis from renewable power, the technical work on the facility is moving full steam ahead. And while the focus is also on the potential to export ammonia to Asia and Europe, options for supplying hydrogen and ammonia to the domestic market are also being explored.

Contact, previously part of the SGH consortium, has decided not to continue into the next phase as a development partner. However, they have expressed interest in continuing to support the project as a potential electricity supplier – a testament to the collaborative spirit that’s driving this project forward.

Closing Thoughts

All in all, the Southern Green Hydrogen Project is shaping up to be a beacon of innovation, sustainability, and community partnership. It's a testament to what can be achieved when industry leaders, local iwi, and the community come together with a shared vision for a cleaner, greener future.

So, watch this space, Aotearoa – the future is bright, and it’s powered by clean, green hydrogen energy! Cheers to that!

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