Appeal against $70M South Taranaki hydrogen project rejected

The High Court rejected an appeal against a resource consent for a $70 million South Taranaki green hydrogen project with the nation’s tallest wind turbines.

Hiringa Energy CEO Andrew Clennett called Justice Christine Grice’s Monday ruling “pleasure and relief.”

Te Korowai o Ngruahine Trust appealed an expert panel’s “fast-track” approval of Hiringa and Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ Kapuni venture, which will generate “green” wind energy to meet Covid recovery criteria. The nearby Ballance Agri-Nutrients ammonia-urea factory will utilise electricity from four 206-meter wind turbines at Kokiri Rd, 5 kilometers northeast of Manaia settlement, to make hydrogen.

This hydrogen went from producing ammonia and urea to fueling heavy and commercial transportation over five years.

After the panel granted the proposal for 35 years with limits in December, earthworks began in February. Ngti Manuhiakai and Ngti Tu, the area’s indisputable mana whenua, were included in Te Korowai o Ngruahine Trust’s petition on Treaty, cultural, and environmental grounds with Greenpeace’s help.

The trust said that the panel had ignored tikanga (custom) and the hap and iwi’s particular conditions and concerns. Greenpeace claims the panel underestimated urea fertilizer’s environmental impact. However, Justice Grice concluded her ruling was valid.