New Zealand’s electricity and gas provider Genesis Energy [GEL:US] announced its plan for the biggest grid-connected solar power investment in New Zealand to date as part of its renewable generation program, according to Stuff on August 12. Over the next five years, the company intends to build solar farms to cover almost 2% of the country’s electricity demand based on the current levels, which was 43,500 gigawatt-hours (GWh) last year. The company said that it was in talks with overseas solar energy developers to set up a joint venture (JV), aiming at a solar power capacity of around 750GWh each year, sufficient for 100,000 households or 185,000 electric vehicles (EV). In addition, the JV might also consider building battery storage facilities as supporting equipment for solar farms.
Genesis Energy’s plan for solar power investment is part of its Future-gen program with a goal to economically displace baseload thermal generation with renewable energy that is reliable and affordable. The company has set a target of 2650GWh per year of renewable generation by 2030. According to Andre Gaylard, General Manager of Future Generation at Genesis, the company has eliminated 1.8m tons of carbon emissions from its generation activities over the last decade and is aiming to reduce carbon emissions by further 1.2m tons by 2025.
To achieve its goals, Genesis has been actively involved in multiple renewable generation developments in recent years. On August 2, Genesis entered into an agreement with Tilt Renewable for a 230GWh Kaiwaikawe Wind Farm to be built in Northland by early 2024. Earlier in March, Genesis made a similar agreement with Contact Energy for its Tauhara geothermal power plant that would generate electricity of 1300GWh annually when operational in 2023. These investments could contribute to the increasing electricity needs of New Zealand, as the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment estimated the country’s annual power generation capacity would need an additional 20,000GWh to 25,000GWh by 2050.