Ara Ake – Aotearoa New Zealand’s future energy centre – has received an additional $70 million in funding from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to continue its mandate to accelerate the nation’s transition to a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable energy future.
Minister of Energy and Resources, Hon Dr Megan Woods, says decarbonisation does not mean de-industrialisation.
“As we transition to a low emissions economy, innovative solutions that are good for the climate, accelerate our access to renewable energy, and help New Zealand adapt to climate change are critical to retaining jobs and improving New Zealand’s economic resilience,” Woods said.
The $70 million boost over 10 years will enable the energy centre to continue its work to strengthen the energy innovation ecosystem, to support more New Zealand low-carbon energy solutions from pilot through to real-world demonstration, and to increase the deployment of innovative global energy solutions in New Zealand.
Ara Ake Chief Executive, Dr Cristiano Marantes, says the funding extension reflects the urgent and important role the centre plays in driving energy innovation in New Zealand.
“Ara Ake takes a ‘whole of energy systems’ approach – building New Zealand’s capability and global connectivity to achieve economic, social, cultural, and environmental impact. As an independent organisation we are extremely well positioned to drive meaningful collaborations to drive change at pace,” says Dr Marantes.
Under the 10-year funding agreement, Ara Ake will be tasked with:
- Increasing development, commercialisation and deployment of New Zealand energy innovations.
- Increasing deployment of innovative global energy solutions in New Zealand.
- Enhancing the policy and regulatory environment to support energy innovation in New Zealand.
- Strengthening the energy innovation ecosystem in New Zealand.
“The new funding agreement provides Ara Ake certainty to plan for the future and deliver on its purpose. The new agreement follows a review of Ara Ake’s work since establishment, which concluded there was a clear case for continued funding to ensure Ara Ake can build on its energy innovation achievements”, says Daniel Brown, Energy Use Policy manager at MBIE.
“Since the inception of Ara Ake in 2020, we’ve helped to foster a more collaborative energy ecosystem, leveraged national and global knowledge for New Zealand’s benefit, and supported many energy innovators on their journeys to commercialising and deploying their low emissions energy solutions. But we still have work to do,” says Dr Marantes.
Key projects Ara Ake has supported over the past three years include:
- A collaboration with New Zealand electricity distribution businesses to find global energy solutions faced by the New Zealand energy industry, with seven pilots now underway.
- Multiple trading relationships – an energy sharing pilot that aims to introduce more competition in the energy sector, making electricity cheaper for customers, helping reduce energy hardship and allowing for greater uptake of low emissions energy technologies.
- Hosted ‘connector’ events which have brought together global and national experts to facilitate discussions on a diverse range of topics including offshore technologies and the pressing issue of energy hardship.
- Partnerships with innovators operating across the energy ecosystem, in areas including electricity generation, biogas, community energy initiatives, and energy hardship.
- The development of insights reports analysing technologies such as battery energy storage systems and carbon dioxide removal and usage.
- A number of useful tools developed for energy innovators and industry, such as the Energy Innovation Fund Navigator, the total cost of ownership comparison tool which helps major road freight and transport companies assess the options and costs for decarbonising their road fleet, and the Community Energy How to Guide.
- A collaboration with solarZero on an innovative winter 2023 peak solution for New Zealand’s electricity system – enabling 30MW of additional network capacity on-demand.