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Budget 2023 breakdown: Climate change package expands EV charging, public transport, lower energy costs – EQ Mag

Budget 2023 breakdown: Climate change package expands EV charging, public transport, lower energy costs – EQ Mag


New climate-focused initiatives include expanding the electric vehicle charging network across the country with public facilities in every town with more than 2000 people.

It also includes expanding free public transport, funding to make 100,000 homes more energy efficient and encouraging the uptake of renewable energy including hydrogen power.

It builds on a pre-Budget announcement of $300 million to the New Zealand Green Investment Finance Ltd, taking its pool of capital to $700m.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw said the initiatives were primarily paid for through Climate Emergency Response Fund, which is largely funded by polluters through the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Shaw said the climate crisis was fundamentally linked to the cost-of-living crisis.

“We are addressing these dual challenges by investing in affordable public transport, insulating thousands more homes nationwide, and improving energy resilience in local communities,” Shaw said.

“Tackling climate change, with measures like free public transport for children, also helps to ease living costs, reduce emissions and deliver for future generations.”

The Government planned to partner with the private sector to build thousands of new EV chargers across the country.

This will expand the growing national network of EV charging hubs – each containing up to 20 chargers – to up to 23 hubs.

“This will see charging hubs every 150–200 kilometres on main highways, a public charger for every 20-40 EVs in urban areas, and public charging at community facilities for all settlements with 2000 or more people,” Wood said.

Funding for the EV network expansion is $120m over four years.

The Government would also provide $30m over three years for clean heavy vehicle grants.

Other initiatives included increasing energy efficiency in homes and encouraging renewable energy uptake.

Energy Minister Megan Woods said just over $400m will be spent over the next four years to fund heating and insulation retrofits in over 100,000 homes – reducing electricity usage by 16 per cent on average.

Woods said it would help make homes warmer, healthier and cheaper to heat while increasing energy resilience and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The retrofit programme would deliver 26,500 per year over the next four years, Woods said.

The Government would also fund five million LED lightbulbs and energy-efficient hot water heaters.

Woods said after this programme had finished the Government would have funded over 200,000 retrofits.

People living on Rekohu/Chatham Islands were also in for some big power savings, with the Government committing to funding a wind turbine and battery project on the island.

Due to reliance on expensive sources such as diesel generators electricity costs on the islands are four times the average in New Zealand. This initiative could more than halve costs, saving households about $1445 a year.

Other major initiatives on the adaptation side include $6 billion in initial funding for a National Resilience Plan to focus on building back better from recent weather events. This was on top of a $71b infrastructure plan over the next five years, with a focus on resilience.

This would also support areas like Westport, for example, which are at risk from floods, storms and sea level rise.

Woods said $100m had also been set aside for a green hydrogen rebate – $32.5m for the first four years.

“We’re kick-starting early adoption of hydrogen by subsidising businesses to bridge the price gap between fossil fuels and green hydrogen, starting with Southland,” Woods said.

“This initiative will help make hydrogen a financially viable option.

“A green hydrogen rebate will support a small number of early adopters in hard-to-abate industries to reduce their emissions by 150,000 tonnes – equivalent to cancelling out the emissions of hundreds of trucks.

“This Government support will move Southland closer to a renewable energy industry which diversifies the economy, and increases the region’s resilience.”

Budget 2023 is also boosting the money available to the pioneering green investor, New Zealand Green Investment Finance to invest in climate solutions while attracting private capital.is

“The range of measures taken by the Government to date are starting to bend the curve on our emissions,” Shaw said.

“These new climate initiatives add to those announced in the CERF last year. Together they will start to make a real difference in reducing our emissions and prove that action on climate can be done while also reducing costs on households.

“The measures in Budget 2023 will not only help achieve climate goals but cut household bills so that families and whānau can thrive.”

Today’s initiatives come on top of $300m previously announced for the New Zealand Green Investment Finance Ltd, taking its pool of capital to $700m and making NZGIF one of the largest direct investors in New Zealand focused on climate change.

Over the past four years, NZGIF had invested in electric vehicle charging infrastructure, solar power in schools, and electric buses.

“This capital investment will support existing and future projects, including transport, process heat, infrastructure and early-stage companies,” Shaw said.

“It will also open up new parts of the market and enable NZGIF to attract larger sums of private capital.”

As at June 2022, the total estimated lifetime emissions reductions of its investments was 580,000 to 710,000 tonnes of CO2e. That was equivalent to 480,000 to 590,000 homes’ energy use for one year.

About $100m from Budget 2023 was also already committed to the Crown’s repayable grant for the Clean Car Discount.

The scheme had exceeded industry and Government projections, with 20 per cent of all new passenger car sales being electric in 2022, a substantial increase from 8 per cent in 2021.

Source: nzherald
Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network