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New Zealand takes another step towards renewable energy future

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The state sector in New Zealand has taken another significant step towards a renewable energy future, as climate change minister James Shaw revealed six new initiatives that will be funded by the solar-powered public service fund of the government.

Support will be given to the University of Canterbury, Auckland Technology University, New Zealand Defense Force, Inland Revenue, and MidCentral and Lakes District Health Boards so they can update key parts of their operations to operate on clean power.

“The projects will reduce state sector carbon emissions by an estimated 14,730 tonnes annually and help lower New Zealand’s dependence on fossil fuel. That’s the equivalent of taking more than 6,000 petrol vehicles off the road.”

James Shaw, climate change minister.

The ventures are the second to be revealed under the $200 million public service fund that is part of the New Zealand Upgrade of the government.

“Upgrading our public services to run on clean energy is a hugely important part of the work this Government is doing to create jobs and tackle the climate crisis. For too long, we have relied on climate-polluting fuels to keep parts of our public organisations running. Today’s announcement is another step towards changing this and ensuring climate-friendly energy solutions are a part of our everyday lives.”

James Shaw, climate change minister.

The solar-powered public service fund allows hospitals, schools, and other public institutions to become solar and environmentally friendly–by switching to fleets of low-emission vehicles and building heating, and energy-efficient lighting.

“Our Government has put in place in place some of the world’s most ambitious climate targets, and made policy and institutional changes that will help us to bend the curve of our emissions downwards, something that has never happened before in New Zealand.

“However, the passing of world-leading climate laws must always be followed by detailed work in communities all over the country, and that’s exactly what we are doing. The clean-powered public service fund is about supporting the public services we all rely on to be part of the solution to climate change.”

James Shaw, climate change minister.

Projects supported by the clean-powered public service fund are:

$6.240 million for the University of Canterbury to replace a coal boiler at its Ilam campus with a biomass boiler. EECA, which operates the clean-powered public service program, reports that this would minimize the carbon emissions of the university by about 9.000 tons a year. The University of Canterbury will also invest $9.36 million of its own funding.

$0.092 million for Lakes District Health Board to install a low-emission substitute chiller at Taupo Hospital. This initiative is projected by the EECA to reduce its carbon emissions by about 35 tons per year. Lakes DHB will also invest $0.092m from its own budget.

$0.216 million for the MidCentral District Health Board to upgrade low-emission chillers and upgrade three internal combustion engine vehicles with electric battery alternatives and to install charging infrastructure. EECA predicts that this project will minimize carbon emissions from MidCentral DHB by about 305 tons per year. MidCentral DHB will also contribute $0.207 million from their own budget.

$1.015 million for Inland Revenue representing a portion of the expense of replacing 33 internal combustion engine vehicles with electric vehicles and constructing charging facilities. Inland Revenue will contribute $0.985 million of its own funding as well. This initiative will support the government’s target of a 100 percent low-emission fleet by 2025/26 and boost the long-term plan of a reduced fleet of 100 percent low-emission vehicles for Inland Revenue.

$1.290 million for Auckland University of Technology (AUT) to replace its space heating and cooling boiler and hot water boiler with low-emission alternatives, and to install efficient lighting. This initiative is expected to reduce the carbon emissions of AUT by about 480 tons per year. Additionally, AUT will contribute $1.93 million in its own budget.

$3.840 million for New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF) to replace its coal boiler with a heat pump alternative at its Burnham base. EECA reports that the carbon emissions of NZDF will be reduced by about 4.860 tons per year. NZDF is going to invest $5.76 million from its own budget too.

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