Collaboration Driving New Zealand's Renewable Energy Future

Genesis’ solar farm in Lauriston, Canterbury, New Zealand
Spark and Genesis Energy will join forces to supply the telco with renewable energy to power its operations, providing a cleaner energy future for NZ

Strategic alliances between major corporations are a major way of emphasising how pioneering partnerships play a key role in advancing renewable energy projects.

The upcoming partnership between Genesis Energy and telco Spark New Zealand is a testament to this, particularly at a time where collaboration is crucial to meeting national and global sustainability targets.

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Genesis and Spark’s impending partnership will support the development of new renewable energy capacity across the country and the delivery of Spark’s Toitū Sustainability commitments

Genesis and Speak launch 10-year renewable energy agreement

“We are thrilled to enter this partnership with Genesis and take this important step forward in delivering our sustainability ambitions,” said Spark CEO Jolie Hodson. “Electricity accounts for 80% of Spark’s Scope 1 and 2 emissions, and with our investment in data centres and 5G infrastructure accelerating we expect our electricity use to increase, offsetting savings from our network simplification and energy efficiency initiatives.

“As a result, we have been exploring how we can decouple our growth from emissions growth, and in Genesis we found a partner who was ready and willing to help us achieve this.”

Spark CEO Jolie Hodson

Under a 10-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), which will commence in January 2025, all electricity generated by Genesis’ first solar farm in Lauriston, Canterbury will be purchased by Spark. This agreement will make a considerable contribution towards Spark’s SBTi of a 56% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030 from a FY20 baseline.

Genesis’ 63MW site will soon begin construction ahead of being operational by the end of the year. 

Around 60% of Spark’s annual electricity requirements will be provided by Genesis’ renewable energy facility, with the remaining 40% offered by Genesis via the grid, as it currently does for all its energy requirements.

Jolie added: “It is important to us that we deliver on our science-based target by supporting the generation of new renewable energy. In doing so I believe we are demonstrating how we can work together to support Aotearoa’s climate goals – with Spark's procurement supporting Genesis’ renewable energy investments, and those investments in turn enabling Spark to meet its emissions reduction targets.”

Currently, telco Spark’s Scope 1 and 2 emissions are 80% electricity based. Jolie continues to add that as the telco expands its operations and invests in data centres and 5G infrastructure to continue to support its offerings, its electricity use is anticipated to increase, thus putting growing pressure on energy efficiency initiatives.

“We have been exploring how we can decouple our growth from emissions growth, and in Genesis we found a partner who was ready and willing to help us achieve this,” she said.

This sentiment is echoed by Genesis’ Chief Executive Malcolm Johns, who says the PPA supports Genesis’ plan to invest more than NZ$1 billion (US$612.6m) in new renewable energy to help drive Aotearoa towards net zero by 2050.

Malcolm Johns, Chief Executive of Genesis Energy

“The kind of long-term commitment shown by Spark will enable new renewable generation to come online faster, by providing projects with commercial backing and increasing confidence to invest in further developments,” he said.

“Spark is a great partner for our renewable energy as we move the country towards a collective target of 60% electrification, with at least 95% renewable electricity, available 100% of the time.

“We aim for the Lauriston PPA to be just the start of adding more renewable electricity to Spark’s energy supply mix in the future,” says Johns.

What is Toitū Sustainability at Spark?

Toitū is the Māori verb that translates as being undisturbed, untouched, permanent, entire or meaning to sustain holistically. Toitū Sustainability at Spark means its business operates in a way that protects the natural environment and supports the creation of an equitable society for all New Zealanders.

As New Zealand's largest telco and digital services company, Spark is built with sustainability at the core of its business, integrating it into its operations.

Spark’s sustainability framework identifies three key focus areas which enable it to deliver on its commitment to sustainability.

These three focus areas are:
  • Supporting Aotearoa New Zealand to transform to a high-productivity, low-carbon economy
  • Championing digital equity
  • Ensuring that Sparks is environmentally, financially and socially sustainable itself.

All of Spark’s sustainability commitments sit alongside its Māori Strategy, Te Korowai Tupu, which informs how the brand develops strong connections with Māori and builds its understanding of Te Ao Māori — which emphasises the importance of relationships between nature and people.

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