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New Zealand, Japan Exchange Tech for Net-Zero by 2050 Goals

The Paris Agreement on climate change ratified by global leaders in 2015 is paramount. Accordingly, the Net Zero by 2050 goals put up by the International Energy Authority (IEA) is a huge step forward in focusing on renewable energy and making decarbonising happen. However, given the heavy reliance of the modern world on fossil-fuel energies, that global goal is an uphill climb. Thus, it’s timely that New Zealand and Japan have shared technologies recently to make such an ambitious decarbonising goal happen.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern welcomed two renewable energy initiatives that highlight the growing partnership between Japan and New Zealand as both countries work towards a greener future. She was joined in Tokyo by Aoteroa’s head of one of Japan’s biggest car manufacturers who announced the launch of an innovative hydrogen-powered car-sharing scheme in Auckland.

The Prime Minister is in Tokyo on the second leg of a Trade Mission to Singapore and Japan, accompanied by Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor and a business delegation. The mission is to support businesses to rebuild their in-person relationships with Japan – New Zealand’s fourth-largest trading partner – following the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Zealand, like Japan, is embarking on a journey to become carbon neutral by 2050. We need to significantly transform our economy to get there, and Japan is a natural partner for us to achieve that in areas like geothermal energy and transport.

– Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister, New Zealand

Japan’s decarbonising initiative features Japan’s car brand using zero-emission fuel cell technology in partnership with eight major New Zealand companies. Moreover, Ardern emphasised the need to do a shift in modern car technologies. She stipulated that hydrogen powered-vehicles are one way New Zealand can reduce the emissions of the country’s car fleet.

She added that New Zealand’s hydrogen-powered fleet will only grow, and hydrogen vehicles of all sizes need infrastructure to support them. Further, she denoted how proud her government is supporting the roll-out of a series of refuelling stations to be used by heavy freight hydrogen trucks through NZ$ 20 million from the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

Already, New Zealand and Japanese enterprises are starting to cooperate with one another to make the New Zero by 2050 happen. Hydrogen infrastructure is also being developed in New Zealand by a Japanese firm that in partnership with an Aoteroan trust company opened New Zealand’s first-ever green hydrogen power plant. New Zealand’s hydrogen sector continues to grow through a partnership with Ports of Auckland to develop a green hydrogen production facility and refuelling infrastructure.

She affirmed that electric vehicles are also key to meeting New Zealand’s climate change targets. Thus, she encourages Japanese manufacturers to take advantage of the significant incentives that the country has in place to accelerate the uptake of EVs in New Zealand.

Consequently, the Prime Minister was also joined by Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Limited (GNS Science) Chief Executive Ian Simpson as he celebrated a New Zealand consortium opening an office in Tokyo to develop geothermal energy technologies in Japan.

GNS has operated in Japan for more than 30 years, and the consortium will bring new geothermal expertise into Japan, including technology that extracts lithium for car batteries in the future. Lithium extracting technology from New Zealand is groundbreaking and could put the island as a renewable energy leader on the planet.

Such a decarbonisation goal has been made increasingly possible with technology. Certainly, New Zealand’s digital transformation has made such a gigantic leap forward possible. To note, the country’s digital adoption is pushing forward. Recently, it has also started its digital invoicing initiative as reported on OpenGov Asia.

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