Where the Government will launch its new 'clean energy centre'

The Government has announced it will launch a "clean energy centre" in Taranaki that will explore emerging energy options such as hydrogen and solar. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement on Thursday, saying the centre will "look at the full range of emerging clean energy options such as offshore wind, solar batteries, hydrogen and new forms of energy storage". 

The National New Energy Development Centre, to be established in New Zealand's "top energy producing region" is expected to find sustainable ways to power the economy over the next 30 years, Ardern said.

"For decades, Taranaki has been our top energy producing region and now, in the 21st century, the region can be a leader in clean energy as well," Ardern said. 

"It's well known that local businesses and workers already have the skills, experience and international links to support new developments in clean energy technology and infrastructure."

In a pre-Budget announcement, Ardern said $27 million will be invested into the centre, alongside $20 million over four years to establish a new science research fund to explore organic photovoltaics, super conductors, nanotechnologies and inductive power. 

"Investing in cutting edge science that could have global application is one of the best ways a country like New Zealand can contribute to the battle against climate change," Ardern said. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo credit: Newshub

Details of the site have not been confirmed, and will be worked through by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Venture Taranaki, the lead applicant for the centre, during the establishment phase. 

The centre was prompted by the Productivity Commission finding there was no one hub supporting and directing the development of new energy forms in the country and argued that one was badly needed.

Last year Regional Economic Minister Shane Jones announced the Provincial Growth Fund would invest $150,000 to investigate establishing Taranaki as an internationally recognised leader in clean energy technology.

The latest announcement comes a day after the Government said it will introduce the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill into Parliament to address the long-term challenges of climate change.

An independent Climate Change Commission will be established. And a 10 percent reduction in biological methane emissions by 2030 has been targeted, with a provisional reduction ranging from 24 percent to 47 percent by 2050.

Ardern said the new centre will complement the new Bill, as well as the Government's investments in hydrogen and Green Finance Ltd announced last year to accelerate low emissions investment in New Zealand. 

She said the centre will "help New Zealand create new jobs in new industries while moving away from fossil fuels that cause climate change".