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Greens propose new Taranaki Marine Energy Regional Research Institute

The Green Party today proposed creating a Taranaki-based Regional Research Institute focused on developing marine energy technology as part of the transition away from oil drilling.

Green Party energy and resources spokesperson Gareth Hughes made the announcement at a First Union meeting in New Plymouth. Marine energy includes tidal and wave generation.

“New Zealand risks falling behind in the global race to develop marine energy technology and the Green Party will help stimulate research into this exciting clean energy sector by establishing a Marine Energy Regional Research Institute,” said Mr Hughes.

“New Zealand has the fourth largest marine estate in the world. We could be a leading player the development of marine technology.

“It’s a global growth industry that other governments have actively supported by establishing research centres.

“Taranaki would be the perfect location to lead research into marine energy, building on the existing expertise in energy developments and marine engineering.

“The Regional Research Institute would provide a focal point for industry, researchers, and the public to investigate technological developments and the environmental impacts.

“Research centres have been established in the U.S. and Europe, and the Australian Government earlier this year announced a tender for a Wave Energy Research Centre in Albany, Western Australia.

“National wants to set up a coal mining Regional Research Institute on the West Coast but the Greens would target regional economic development funding towards investing in clean, sustainable industries like marine energy and wood and forestry.

“This is what a sustainable economy looks like – government backing businesses to innovate, creating jobs in the regions, and supporting projects that work with the environment, not against it,” said Mr Hughes.

Regional Research Institutes are funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment through a contestable process. There is currently $16 million of unallocated funding, half which the Green Party has suggested should be used for a high-tech wood manufacturing institute. The Green Party in government would hold a specific contestable funding round to choose the location and partners for the marine energy research institute.