Biomass replacement for school coal boilers

Friday 13 May 2022

Thanks to a NZ$10-million dollar investment, all remaining coal boilers in New Zealand schools will be replaced with renewable woody biomass or electric heating sources by 2025 reducing carbon emissions by around 35,400 tonnes over 10 years, Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced.

The move is part of the latest allocation from the Government’s NZ$220 million State Sector Decarbonisation Fund which supports the Carbon Neutral Government Programme, which has already achieved an emissions reduction of 433,981 tonnes of carbon over ten years – the equivalent of taking 17,400 cars off the road.

“I am delighted to announce an end to dirty coal-powered boilers in our schools. This investment means more young people will be kept warm and healthy at school, using clean, green, low-carbon energy,” said James Shaw.

“To date, the School Coal Boiler Replacement Programme has prioritised schools with the oldest and least efficient boilers, but today’s commitment is a major expansion of the programme, and means that around 180 schools with coal boilers will be in a position to prioritise the transition to clean energy”.

Other co-funding announced will enable the replacement of additional fossil-fuelled boilers across the Health, and Tertiary Education sectors, and a further 12 fleet electrification projects in the State sector. The investment will bring the total number of EVs co-funded since the fund’s establishment to 978.

Southland has led the charge within New Zealand in encouraging schools and larger facilities such as hospitals to convert their heat plant from coal to to biomass. As part of the upcoming Residues2Revenues 2022 event being run in Rotorua on 26-27 July, Great South will be outlining a raft of initiatives that have been undertaken in the lower South Island to encourage conversion and how they're working with industry to co-ordinate disparate supplies of wood residues to a growing number of end users across the region. Details on the full conference, workshop and exhibition programme can be found on the event website.

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