Press Release : For Immediate Use
SEANZ backs Budget funding for community-based renewable energy but calls for more funding and greater urgency for resilience projects
SEANZ group members have delivered improved resilience to energy networks and will do more with $30 million Budget announcement but with increasing likelihood of extreme weather events causing power outages, more needs to be done.
Auckland, 18 May 2023 - The Sustainable Energy Association NZ (SEANZ) welcomes the announcement today of $30 million to expand existing support to community-based renewable energy and resilience projects with solar and battery storage.
SEANZ group members delivered many projects that sustained businesses and communities during Cyclone Gabrielle, providing essential services such as communications and water sanitation as well as hot showers.
SEANZ Chair Brendan Winitana says: “it was heartening to hear some good news stories coming from the disaster, how solar and batteries were able to power some communities through the severe weather and the days and weeks of electricity network outage that followed for many.
The $30 million announced in today’s budget is welcomed, but if we are to lessen the financial and social impacts from increasing climate-related weather disasters then we urge the government to make more funding mechanisims available for the urgent rollout of solar and battery systems across the country in community-based organisations like Marae and Community Centres, where people can gather in such events”.
Many in Hawkes Bay have become advocates for solar and battery energy systems following their experience through Cyclone Gabrielle, providing resilience during the unforeseen weather event. Business owner Carole told SEANZ “I always believed we might face an earthquake or a tsunami due to our low-lying location, however, it was the unexpected cyclone that highlighted the solar energy system's value”. Thanks to the recently installed solar panels and batteries, the business sustained its operations throughout the six-day power outage, demonstrating their ability to function autonomously, keeping her business operational and providing support for the local community.
“Solar and batteries energy systems play a key role in building resilience, powering homes and businesses during network outages and lowering energy costs year-round. SEANZ looks forward to working alongside the government to increase community energy resilience through the additional funding announced today and emphasises the urgency for further funding to bolster energy resilience to more communities and business before the inevitable next major weather event” says Mr Winitana.
For further information contact:
SEANZ Communications Manager
021 065 8460
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