The Current Energy Climate
Worldwide, we’re facing issues such as pollution, global warming, growing population, widespread energy poverty, finite fossil fuels — therefore harnessing clean and renewable energy has never been more crucial. With energy being more widely used and our supply being more susceptible to the rapid environmental changes our planet is facing — creating cleaner energy energy solutions is a top priority worldwide.
Close to 40% of New Zealand’s total greenhouse gas emissions come from our energy use. Whether we’re driving a petrol car or diesel truck, travelling by plane, burning gas for manufacturing or burning coal to create electricity, we’re creating huge amounts of greenhouse gases by burning these fossil fuels.
While New Zealand is currently investing resources and effort into decarbonisation and renewable energy, much more needs to happen.
How is Hydrogen created?
Hydrogen is a versatile and widely-used element found in a variety of applications, including energy generation, transportation and industrial processes. But how is hydrogen created?
Hydrogen can be produced in a number of ways, some more environmentally friendly than others. While there is multiple ways of creating it, we think it’s best to just discuss ‘Green Hydrogen’ – the ideal way of creating hydrogen and our method of choice.
‘Green hydrogen’ is created through electrolysis powered by renewable energy. Electrolysis is the process of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity.
Green hydrogen is considered renewable and has numerous emissions benefits as the only byproduct of this process is oxygen.
Want to learn more about how hydrogen is created?
Check out this informative PDF from our partner Enapter: Click here to view
Hydrogen is a key piece in the puzzle of our world’s energy solutions. When used as a fuel, hydrogen only produces water vapor and heat as by-products. This makes it one of the cleanest energy sources available with tremendous environmental benefits, helping to reduce our carbon emissions and pollution levels.
Hydrogen is also very efficient and cost-effective to use. It can be produced using electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar, and requires minimal energy inputs compared to other fuel sources which helps create a more sustainable energy future.
Additionally, it can be easily transported and stored without the need for bulky storage tanks or special containers – making it ideal for industrial use as well as transportation. Hydrogen’s storage capacity can also support the electricity grid, providing demand control during peak times, and enabling more efficient use of our electrical infrastructure. Furthermore, advancements in technology have allowed us to store large quantities of hydrogen for long periods of time which make it easier for energy companies to transport it across wide distances if needed.
Hydrogen is a highly beneficial form of renewable energy that has immense potential to reduce global emissions and promote sustainable practices in the energy sector. With advancements in technology and improved production methods, this energy source is only going to get better.
Hydrogen can be used as a fuel source for transportation, cooking, heating, power commercial operations, and more. In fact Japan has close to 100 public hydrogen refuelling stations, in which you can fill up your car just as you would with petrol or diesel. Hydrogen can offer faster refuelling than electric.
Hydrogen has the potential to be stored in large volumes for long periods. There’s also the benefit of being able to transport it along existing infrastructure, though this is also not without its challenges. Hydrogen storage offers flexibility to the grid during peak periods of generation by renewables and can be stored until needed at a later date.
Hydrogen can be used in fuel cells to generate electricity, or power and heat. Power-to-hydrogen projects are growing, using excess renewable electricity, when available, to make hydrogen through electrolysis. Hydrogen can also support the electricity grid as it can be stored for when it is needed most to fuel a hydrogen-powered power station.
The Energy Trilemma
The Energy Trilemma is a concept that addresses the need to balance the three interconnected dimensions of sustainability, equity, and security in the production and consumption of energy. The Trilemma suggests that a successful energy policy must be capable of reconciling these three distinct but intertwined elements, making sure each one is optimized while being mindful of their interconnections.
Sustainability means meeting current energy needs while mitigating and avoiding environmental degradation and climate change impacts.
Equity calls for equitable access to affordable, secure and sustainable energy resources for all.
Security requires reliable and resilient energy infrastructure that can meet current and future energy demands as well as withstand and respond to system shocks.
The global challenge of creating an efficient energy system that is sustainable, equitable, and secure cannot be overstated. Climate change due to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels is threatening our planet’s future; moreover, lack of access to affordable energy disproportionately impacts disadvantaged populations around the world. As such, striking this delicate balance between all three elements has become an increasingly important priority.
How are we stacking up?
Currently, most of the world’s electricity is generated from non-renewable sources which are not sustainable over the long term and are contributing heavily to negative climate change. These resources also come with high economic costs since they require substantial investment in infrastructure and transportation networks. In addition, new builds in NZ may need to pay for infrastructure upgrades or to go off the grid, leading to many people lacking access to electricity or having limited use due to cost barriers.
As such, these current methods of producing energy do not fulfill all aspects of the Energy Trilemma – security, equity, and sustainability – making them difficult for developing nations and low-income populations to benefit reliably in the long run.