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Clean Energy Centre Gets the Go Ahead

The New Zealand Clean Energy Centre has now got the go-ahead, after attracting significant industry funding to complement government support.

Announcing the industry's commitment to the centre at the Waikato Energy Forum in Hamilton today, Energy Minister David Parker said the centre aligned strategically with the government's draft energy and climate change strategies.

"The New Zealand Clean Energy Centre based in Taupo will be a national centre for the commercialisation and application of clean energy research and technology, with the aim of increasing the direct use of clean geothermal and bio-energy resources in new and existing businesses," David Parker said.

"New Zealand's future is highly dependent on energy security; in particular we must find new and innovative ways to use our natural energy resources to power industry and transport without further threat to our pristine environment. The New Zealand Clean Energy Centre will help lead the way towards this goal, so it's great to see the industry coming on board to support it."

Economic Development Minister Trevor Mallard said the Clean Energy Centre aimed to focus on innovation, business development and incubation of energy-related businesses and to provide technical assistance to increase the uptake of renewable energy opportunities in the region and nationally.

"The government committed $2m to the centre through New Zealand Trade and Enterprise's Major Regional Initiative Fund. I'm delighted to learn that's been more than matched by industry and local government together to the tune of $6 million."

Local MP Mark Burton said: "The centre will help the Taupo economy to further diversify beyond forestry, farming and tourism, and the centre also aims to add value to existing industries".

"I'm pleased the government has been able to support this major regional initiative which is a joint project between the Lake Taupo Development Company, Energy for Industry, Fitzroy Engineering, the local council, the local iwi, Tuwharetoa and other industry groups," Mr Burton said.

A spokesman for the Clean Energy Centre, Barry Delany, said: "This is great day for Taupo and good news for clean energy projects throughout New Zealand."

In the first stages of the development, the initiative will make use of the region's natural resources and existing expertise in clean energy technology.

"There are significant geothermal resources in the Taupo region. There is also good geothermal and biomass capability that includes energy companies, energy users, science and research capability, and technological consultancies," Barry Delany said.

"Aquaculture, floriculture, greenhouses, agricultural drying, bathing, space heating, and tourism businesses are already using geothermal and bio-energy sources. However, there is significant opportunity for more to do so."

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