A Taranaki energy company has received $950,000 from the Provincial Growth Fund to develop zero-emission hydrogen fuel.
Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters announced the funding during a visit to New Plymouth today.
The money will go to Hiringa Energy and partners to scope the design and engineering of two hydrogen generation facilities, mobile storage and distribution containers and up to three refuelling stations.
"Hiringa Energy and its partners should be congratulated for this foundation project. It has the potential to provide further employment and investment opportunities through clean energy technology," Peters said in a statement.
"This funding supports the next step towards developing a specialist skill base in the region to support hydrogen projects. This project's deliverables will help grow the industry that has the potential to reduce emissions and provide clean, sustainable, secure energy."
Speaking to reporters later, Peters said hydrogen fuel looked like "the face of the future and will make us, in that context, an international leader.
"There's a lot of work required here but once it does go, I think there'll be a time in future we'll look back to this moment and say 'thank God somebody thought about it'."
Peters said the funding was part of a tranche of offerings for Taranaki.
"There are some big potential projects here in the Taranaki which will be 20-, 30-, 40-, 50-year-type industrial advancements," he said.
Earlier today, Regional Economic Development Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau announced $600,000 over three years from the Provincial Growth Fund for Venture Taranaki to employ a "transitional economy manager" to help diversify the local economy as the region moves away from its dependence on the energy sector.
"We are fully cognisant of the impact of a changing energy sector on the Taranaki region and remain relentlessly committed to generating opportunity and growth in the region," Tabuteau said.
"[The] additional PGF funding over three years will enable Venture Taranaki to employ a transitional economy manager to work alongside businesses, iwi, central government, communities, and the workforce, to identify, create and support new opportunities, jobs, skills, and investments across the energy, food, Māori economy, and tourism industries," he said in a statement.
The Government announced in April that it would ban all future oil and gas exploration in New Zealand as it moves away from fossil fuels and a low-carbon economy.
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones, who is in charge of the Provincial Growth Fund, has already announced $19.7m for initiatives for Taranaki.