- Christchurch Airport of New Zealand has committed 400-hectare space at Harewood Campus for Kōwhai Park to be scaled up over 30 years
- Under phase I, 220-hectare space will be used to develop 150 MW solar power capacity
- Solar Bay of Australia will invest $100 million to support the development of the 150 MW capacity
- The solar park will meet the airport’s growing renewable energy demand as it focuses on decarbonization efforts
New Zealand’s Christchurch Airport is to host a 150 MW solar power plant, the largest planned for the country to date, with Australia’s renewable energy fund Solar Bay investing $100 million for the development of the facility in phase I.
Solar Bay’s Investment Director Jack Sherratt said the 150 MW array under phase I is ‘50 times larger than any existing array in the country’.
This 150 MW capacity is planned to be realized during phase I on 220-hectare space out of 400 hectares the airport has committed at the Harewood Campus for the Kōwhai Park, and will be scaled up over the next 30 years.
The airport authorities said this will support future development of green fuel production for land and air transport, green data centers and green vertical farming.
Christchurch Airport Chief Executive Malcolm Johns explained that the facility will enable the airport over time to meet additional demand as its decarbonization efforts are expected to increase renewable energy supply requirement by 68%.
“Kōwhai Park will, over time, help meet that additional demand and provide a resilient supply of renewable energy Canterbury and New Zealand can rely on,” said Johns. “It will also assist aviation to decarbonize and decouple from fossil fuels. In New Zealand we’re likely to see both electric and hydrogen-fueled planes on our domestic routes over the next few decades. Kōwhai Park can support this transition at Christchurch.”
With New Zealand aiming to go net zero by 2050, there is an increased activity in the country’s renewable energy space of late, and of course experience of players operating in neighboring Australia comes in handy. In November 2021, local natural gas company Genesis Energy selected FRV Australia to co-develop up to 500 MW solar power capacity in New Zealand over the next 5 years (see 500 MW Solar Joint Venture For New Zealand).