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Funding boost to help universities, DHBs cut 50,000 tonnes of emissions this decade [Video]

The funding will help replace more coal-fire boilers with cleaner alternatives in schools and hospitals around the country. (File photo)

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The funding will help replace more coal-fire boilers with cleaner alternatives in schools and hospitals around the country. (File photo)

Schools, hospitals, and other state agencies around the country will get a much-needed cash injection to help slash 50,000 tonnes of emissions over the next decade, with the lion’s share to come from Canterbury.

On Thursday, Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced a further $13.2 million from the Government’s $220 million State Sector Decarbonisation Fund to buy electric vehicles, and replace coal boilers with cleaner alternatives.

This latest announcement will prevent 51,070 tonnes of carbon emissions entering the atmosphere over the next ten years, and add 127 new electric vehicles to public sector fleets across the country.

So far, the fund has helped state sector organisations across New Zealand purchase nearly 600 electric vehicles, and replace more than 100 coal boilers.

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Shaw said over the last four years, Government had laid the foundations for a prosperous, low-emission future for Aotearoa, with the passing of the Zero Carbon Act, and initiatives like the State Sector Decarbonisation Fund.

“Whether it’s a local school, a university, or a hospital, most New Zealanders want to be able to access the public services they need in warm, energy-efficient buildings powered by clean energy. They also want to know that our essential public sector workers can get around for their jobs using electric vehicles.

RNZ

The government's plan to tackle climate change has been revealed in the Zero Carbon Bill. Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw, talks to Corin Dann.

“Because of today’s announcement I am confident that this future is closer within reach than ever before.”

Shaw believed New Zealand was still on track to meet its goal of having a carbon-neutral public sector by 2025, but said there was still a long way to go.

There were around 200 organisations in the public sector, he said, and most did not know their emissions profile before the new legislation.

“To be fair, this programme is only just up and running… Dozens and dozens now have emissions reduction plans in place. The progress will accelerate leading up to 2025.”

Shaw said the focus has so far been largely on helping public sector organisations reduce emissions, but offsetting them may soon play a part.

“[We] didn’t want to give them the out of using offsets.”

Nearly half of the emissions prevented in the latest funding round would come from Canterbury.

Climate Change Minister James Shaw says NZ is on track to have a carbon-neutral public sector by 2025. (File photo)

ROSA WOODS

Climate Change Minister James Shaw says NZ is on track to have a carbon-neutral public sector by 2025. (File photo)

Three local projects received a cash boost, including the University of Canterbury, which would receive $2.16m to finish replacing coal boilers at its Ilam campus, slashing its emissions by 20,000 tonnes over the next decade.

The Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) would also get $204,000 to install energy-efficient lighting at Christchurch Women’s Hospital, and Lincoln University would get $198,000 to replace lighting on campus.

In 2018, the University of Canterbury burned over 6000 tonnes of coal – an average of 23 tonnes each day.

The University of Canterbury will now be able to eliminate coal usage on campus. (File photo)

ALDEN WILLIAMS/Stuff

The University of Canterbury will now be able to eliminate coal usage on campus. (File photo)

“This will completely [eliminate] all coal use on campus… which is pretty significant,” Shaw said.

When he visited the campus last year, staff and students he spoke to were appalled to learn just how much of the fossil fuel the university was burning through, he said.

“[These are] some of the largest organisations in the public sector in Canterbury. They have the highest energy use and emissions. Many were built decades and decades ago, and they're still powered by these ancient coal boilers.

“This is something the people involved in these institutions can be proud of.”

The full list of projects receiving new funding on Thursday:

Auckland:

  • $2m for Auckland DHB to transition one of its Grafton buildings to LED lighting.
  • $1.9m for Waitemata DHB to buy 72 electric cars and charging infrastructure.
  • $366,000 for Counties Manukau DHB to replace a chiller at Manukau Health Park with a low-emission alternative.

Waikato:

  • $138,000 for Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec) to install efficient lighting on campus.
  • $100,000 for University of Waikato to replace a chiller on campus with a low-emission alternative.
  • $154,000 for University of Waikato to install efficient lighting on campus.
  • $120,000 for Waikato DHB to install efficient lighting at Waikato Hospital’s Meade Clinical Centre.

Taranaki:

  • $105,000 for Western Institute of Technology to buy three electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

Wellington:

  • $1.1m for Capital & Coast DHB to install efficient lighting across its sites.
  • $1.5m for the Ministry for Primary Industries to buy 52 electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

Nelson/Marlborough:

  • $670,000 for Nelson/Marlborough DHB to install efficient lighting at Blenheim's Wairau Hospital.

Canterbury:

  • $2.16m for University of Canterbury to finish replacing coal boilers on its Ilam campus, completely eliminating coal use at the site.
  • $204,000 for Canterbury DHB to install efficient lighting at Christchurch Women’s Hospital.
  • $198,000 for Lincoln University to install efficient lighting on campus.

Otago:

  • $224,000 for University of Otago to replace the coal boiler at residential Arana College.

Southland:

  • $2.8 million for the Department of Corrections to replace the coal boiler at Invercargill Prison with a wood pellet boiler.
  • $300,000 for Southern DHB to replace the diesel boiler at Tokanui Medical Centre with an electric heat pump system.

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