QLDC looking into renewable energy sector

The Queenstown Lakes district may be about to tap into the renewable energy sector, with a new report showing hydrogen production could become a major new industry for the area.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council has just released the findings of a report it commissioned to assess potential research and development opportunities for the district.

The report, compiled by Sapere Research Group, identified hydrogen production as a potential new industry.

Council economic development manager Peter Harris said the report formed part of a joint search by council and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) for new opportunities that could help diversify the local economy.

“Based on this report, hydrogen looks like it would have the most potential. It could be made using hydroelectricity, solar or wind, and would be used as a zero emission fuel for buses, trucks, cars and vessels. It could ultimately form a new industry in our district.

“We have already received interest from members of the New Zealand Hydrogen Association - Real Journeys and H W Richardson Group - to be a part of a pilot so it will be exciting to see where this leads.''

New Zealand Hydrogen Association chief executive Dr Linda Wright lives in the district and was ''excited'' about hydrogen as a zero emission fuel for heavy vehicles.

“Hydrogen has advantages over batteries for long range trucks and buses. The Southern South Island is the ideal place to make and test renewable hydrogen as a way for the tourism and transport industries to reduce emissions,” she said.

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