BUDGET 2012: EECA to have greater business focus

Boost of $2.5m in business energy efficiency programmes, while 41,000 more houses will get insulated.

The government's energy efficiency arm, EECA, will spend $2.5 million more next year targeting businesses.

In today's budget, Energy and Resources Minister Phil Heatley says there is significant potential to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as increase productivity, by improving the energy efficiency of businesses.

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority's business energy efficiency programme will be boosted by $2.5m in the next year, and more funding is likely to be found from other areas in coming years.

Initiatives such as making commercial chillers more energy-efficient might save, on average, $30m a year.

As part of EECA changes to boost business funding, grants for efficient water heating will be replaced with "an information based programme".

Mr Heatley says: "In New Zealand we are in the fortunate position of being able to generate the majority of our electricity from renewable resources, making it less crucial for the government to financially support renewable energy at a household level."

The biodiesel grant scheme will also end, as scheduled.

As expected, no new money will be spent on the government's $347 million home insulation scheme.

However, savings in the 2010-2011 year means an extra 41,000 more houses will be done.

The EECA-administered Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart scheme will now insulate 230,000 homes.

The government statement did not quantify the savings.

Mr Heatley says a government agreement with the Maori Party means 20,000 of the 41,000 extra homes would be "low-income homes".

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