New Zealand turns to clean energy to cut government emissions

After successfully legislating one of the world’s first commitments to zero net carbon emissions, the New Zealand government is putting its money where its mouth is and installing solar across a range of government buildings.

New Zealand climate change minister James Shaw announced that the government would see solar installed across six of its buildings, including offices of the NZ defence force, as part of a $200 million ‘clean-powered public service fund’.

Clean energy projects will be installed at The University of Canterbury, Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand Defence Force, Inland Revenue, and MidCentral and Lakes District Health Boards, as part of a range of building upgrades.

“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,” Shaw said.

“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.”

“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,” Shaw added.

The upgrades include a $NZ15.5 million replacement of a coal boiler a the University of Canterbury with a biomass-fuelled boiler, that is expected to cut the university’s carbon footprint by 9,000 tonnes each year.

The New Zealand Defence Force will also receive a $NZ9.6 million for its own coal boiler replacement – a heat pump that will cut its emissions footprint by almost 5,000 tonnes per year.

The Inland Revenue department will commit $NZ2 million to replace 33 of its vehicle fleet with electric vehicle replacements, as well as funding the installation of charging infrastructure.

This investment will contribute to the NZ government achieving a goal of a 100 per cent low-emissions government vehicle fleet by 2025-26.

“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,” Shaw added.

“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,”

Further announcements under the clean energy public service fund are expected to follow these latest commitments and will target emissions reductions across hospitals, schools and government departments.

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