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Greens announce $250m fund for community energy projects

otaki solar power
Regional councillor Thomas Nash, Kapiti Coast mayor Guru, and Green Party co-leader James Shaw, at today’s launch. Photo: Green Party

Report from RNZ
The Green Party wants to create a $250 million Community Energy Projects Fund if it is part of the next government. Co-leader James Shaw made the announcement while visiting the launch of the Energise Ōtaki solar farm and community investment fund – the first of its kind in New Zealand.

The power generated at the new Energise Ōtaki solar farm will be used to power Ōtaki College and the council’s wastewater treatment process.

The proceeds will be returned to the community and used to support energy and other projects in the town.

Shaw said Energise Ōtaki is a great example of what can be done when people and organisations come together to generate their own clean energy.

But, he added, previous governments have done little to help local communities generate their own energy, often favouring the big industry players instead.

“Communities all over the country want to be part of our clean energy future. One of the ways the Greens will support this is by pushing to create a new fund to help communities make the switch to clean, climate-friendly ways of meeting local energy needs,” he said.

Shaw said this will not only bring huge benefits for a local area, but help accelerate the transition to a zero carbon Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Community Energy Projects Fund would prioritise not-for-profit projects and partnerships.

However, some allowance would be made for lines companies and small innovative businesses to access the fund, as long as they are partnering with communities. The fund is part of the Green Party’s Clean Energy Plan, which includes equipping all suitable public housing with solar panels and batteries and making it 50 percent cheaper for everyone to upgrade to solar and batteries for their own homes, with government finance.

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