11 Nov 2020

Government announces $70m fund to make fossil fuel switch

11:25 am on 11 November 2020

The government has launched a $70 million fund to help industries switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy for process heat.

Signs paperwork

Minister of Energy and Resources Megan Woods says the fund is crucial to reducing process heat emissions. Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the fund while in New Plymouth this morning.

It will allow businesses to access financial support to switch away from boilers run on coal and gas, to cleaner electricity and biomass options.

Ardern said it was a "win-win" for both the climate and the economic recovery.

"The $70 million fund will create jobs and stimulate the economy while demonstrating our commitment to future proofing our recovery," Ardern said.

"It provides much needed financial support to business to assist with the often costly transition of plant and equipment to clean energy sources."

Process heat makes up around a quarter of New Zealand's energy-related emissions.

Minister of Energy and Resources Megan Woods said this fund would be key in reducing those emissions in the coming year.

"The new fund will target New Zealand's largest energy users to accelerate their uptake of electrification and other technologies that will dramatically lower emissions from this sector, and create clean energy jobs," she said.

The fund will be administered by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, and will be available to New Zealand-based businesses who demonstrate a commitment to decarbonising.

"Successful applicants will likely already have a plan in place to decarbonise their process heat, and will be able to demonstrate value for money as well as their contribution to the economic recovery by boosting economic activity and providing local employment," Woods said.

"We're requiring New Zealand businesses to implement these projects quickly, not only to get the benefits of lower greenhouse gas emissions and greater economic activity, but to demonstrate to industry across New Zealand that there are proven viable solutions to their clean energy needs."

A minimum of $15m is available in the first funding round, which opens today, with a 14 December deadline for proposals.

Decisions on this will be made early in the New Year.

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