New Zealand government launches $70m fund to reduce carbon emissions from coal and gas
The Government has launched a $70m fund to help businesses switch from fossil fuels, such as coal and gas, to clean energy for process heat.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and energy minister Megan Woods announced the fund in New Plymouth on Wednesday, and said it would allow business and industries to access financial support to switch away from boilers run on coal and gas, to cleaner electricity and biomass options.
Process heat is the steam, hot water or hot gases used in industrial processing, manufacturing and space heating.
“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from process heat is win-win for our climate and our recovery,” Ardern said in a statement. “It provides much-needed financial support to business to assist with the often costly transition of plant and equipment to clean energy sources.”
Ardern said the $70m fund would create jobs and stimulate the economy, while demonstrating the Government’s commitment to future-proofing New Zealand’s Covid-19 recovery.
“I have set out that the economic recovery from Covid and addressing climate change are priorities for the new Government,” she said. “This fund creates jobs while lowering emissions and is the exact sort of initiative that will help us to build back better from Covid.”
According to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), 79 per cent of the process heat in New Zealand is used in the industrial sector, in sawmills, pulp and paper mills, and food processing plants (including dairy).
The final 21 per cent is used in the commercial sector, in shops and office buildings, the public sector, in schools, hospitals, prisons and public administration buildings, and in the agricultural sector, mainly for glasshouses.
About half of the country’s process heat demand comes from burning coal or natural gas.
It counts for about 9 per cent of our total emissions, and 27 per cent of our energy-related emissions.
Woods said this fund would be key to 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.”
Woods said a minimum of $15m was available in the first round, which opened on Wednesday.
“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.”
By Jane Matthews