Backing home-grown clean energy in today’s Budget could kick-start a multi-billion dollar bonanza for New Zealand’s economy, creating tens of thousands of jobs.

Investing just $500million in clean energy innovation could see the country’s coffers topped up with billions of dollars over the next few years.

A successful Budget will see the announcement of three clean energy innovation platforms:

A Green Investment Bank to invest in clean energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transport fuels. This would seek to co-finance clean energy projects with the private sector, working with the market to build industry capacity.

A Clean Energy Innovation Agency to provide government support for research and development, demonstration, commercialisation and deployment of clean energy. This would provide substantial grant-based support for renewable energy across multiple areas (ocean energy; sustainable transport fuels).

A Clean Energy Innovation Fund to support business investment in research and development, proof of concept and early stage of commercialisation of clean technologies. Successful program applicants will need to demonstrate the extent of their project's contribution to a reduction in carbon emissions or energy consumption, and to the sustainability of a business or industry.

And backing existing New Zealand clean energy industries in this way, instead of selling them off, will make much more economic sense.

Nathan Argent, Greenpeace’s chief policy advisor, said: “A Budget for the people of New Zealand would back our Kiwi know-how, our Kiwi expertise and our Kiwi innovation.“

And it would do this by setting up three key platforms to boost our world-class skills and knowledge in clean energy. This is an industry where New Zealand, given the right government support, could be a global leader.

“Companies like Meridian are right at the heart of this industry. They are the incubators of renewable energy expertise and the developers of cutting edge technologies that a changing world is demanding. That’s why they shouldn’t be sold off.”