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Flicking the switch on a clean powered public service

Our Government’s programme to upgrade infrastructure and modernise the economy will help more communities to be part of the solution to climate change through a clean-powered public service.

Minister for Climate Change James Shaw today announced the first group of projects from the New Zealand Upgrade Programme’s clean powered public service fund. Eight schools and two hospitals will receive support so they can upgrade to run on clean energy.

“Our Government is helping more hospitals, schools and other public organisations switch to clean, climate-friendly ways of keeping people warm and the lights on,” James Shaw said.

“The places our kids go to learn and our loved ones go to be cared for can be part of the solution to climate change. However, decisions by successive previous Governments left many of these places with no option but to burn climate-polluting fossil fuels like coal to keep their kids and patients warm.

“Many of our schools have old, dirty, climate-polluting boilers that in most cases were installed in the 1950s and 1960s. Because of our support, current and future generations of kids will be kept warm at school by clean energy as we help them upgrade to using biomass instead of coal.

“Climate-polluting fuels have been used for too long to heat some of New Zealand’s most important public buildings. Today’s announcement is another step towards changing this and ensuring climate-friendly energy solutions are a part of our everyday lives,” James Shaw said.

“This is a major expansion of our Government’s work to move our economy away from fossil fuels and demonstrates leadership on lowering emissions,” Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods said.

“The capital announced today means that the Government is moving in the right direction to be able to reach our goals of 100% renewable electricity by 2035 and net zero carbon by 2050.”

The first projects announced under the $200 million for a clean powered public service are:

1. Up to a total of $4.8 million to replace coal boilers used for heating at eight schools this year, with biomass boilers:

a. Wallacetown primary school

b. Waverly Park primary school

c. Te Anau primary school

d. Catlins School

e. Opoho school

f. Fiordland College

g. James Hargest College

h. Ruapehu College

2. Up to $2.4 million to replace a coal boiler at Ashburton Hospital.

3. Up to $2.8 million to upgrade Hillmorton Hospital’s mental health unit to a higher Green Star rating. Construction is expected to begin in 2020.

These changes will help us meet the commitments we made to all New Zealanders in the Zero Carbon Act.

Further projects will be announced soon.

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