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New Zealand powers up new clean energy centre

New Zealand is establishing a $27m clean energy centre in Taranaki to help lead the country’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement in front of about 500 delegates at the Just Transition Summit in New Plymouth this month.

“The National New Energy Development centre will help create new business and jobs in Taranaki while helping New Zealand move towards clean, affordable, renewable energy and away from fossil fuels.

“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.”

An additional $20m will be spent over four years to establish a new science research fund for energy technology, including organic photovoltaics, superconductors, nanotechnologies and inductive power.

The Taranaki region has long been the country’s top energy producer, but the government’s ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration permits means it will need to shift from a focus on fossil fuels to clean energy alternatives.

Ardern added: “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.”

The Just Transition Summit brought together high-level speakers including politicians, economists, and celebrities including former Midnight Oil singer and environmental campaigner Peter Garrett, and Hollywood director James Cameron and his wife, environmental advocate Suzy Amis Cameron.

Tourism New Zealand’s Business Events Team has highlighted earth sciences as a key knowledge sector for the country, and hopes to attract more international conferences in the field, including the renewable energy sector.

Some 85 per cent of the country’s electricity generation is currently from renewable sources – geothermal, hydro, wind, biomass, and solar – with the New Zealand Government targeting 90 per cent renewable electricity by 2025. The country is particularly known for its world-class geothermal expertise, with the Geothermal Institute at the University of Auckland one of the premier geothermal research and training centres in the world.

(via RNZ, Tourism New Zealand)