Spark New Zealand forged a ten-year deal to purchase all power generated by Genesis Energy’s first solar farm, providing as much as 60 per cent of the operator’s annual electricity requirement and advancing its sustainability goals.

Genesis aims to complete the construction of a 63MW solar farm in the city of Lauriston, Canterbury region, by the end of the year. The power purchase agreement commences on 1 January 2025 and the supplier will provide the remaining 40 per cent from the grid

.The facility will consist of nearly 90,000 solar panels installed on a 90-hectare site about 60km southwest of Christchurch.

In a joint statement, Spark CEO Jolie Hodson noted the partnership is an important step forward in delivering on its sustainability ambitions.

She added with electricity usage expected to increase as investments in data centres and 5G rise, offsetting savings from its network simplification and energy efficiency initiatives, it has been looking to decouple its increase from rising emissions.

The operator previously set a target of reducing direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 1 and Scope 2) by 56 per cent by 2030.

Electricity accounts for 80 per cent of its Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions.

The companies said they will “explore additional renewable energy opportunities” to enable Spark to transition to 100 per cent renewable energy procurement and support Genesis’ target for 95 per cent renewable generation by 2035.

Genesis plans to invest more than NZW1 billion ($609.9 million) in new renewable energy.