Clean energy future for more schools

Schools across Aotearoa New Zealand will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today.

The Minister has allocated $50 million from the Clean Powered Public Service Fund to replace, or convert, coal boilers in schools with clean energy alternatives, including at the 18 schools announced today.

The $50 million allocated for clean energy upgrades in schools will reduce carbon emissions by around 36,500 tonnes over the next ten years.

“We are helping more schools make the switch to clean, climate-friendly ways of keeping their children warm and the lights on. This means that more of the places our children go to learn will be contributing towards meeting the emission reduction targets this Government has put in place.

“Because of the inaction by previous Governments, far too many of our schools still use old, dirty, climate-polluting boilers to keep their kids warm. We are changing that by making sure that more kids, now and in the future, will be kept warm at school by clean energy,” James Shaw said.

Allocating $50 million to replace more coal boilers in schools over the next three years builds on the work underway to support schools to become more environmentally-friendly. 

“Replacing coal boilers builds on what this Government has already done to improve sustainability in schools. For example, the Sustainability Contestable Fund is helping schools all over New Zealand to reduce their environmental impact and switch to more climate-friendly ways of doing things. As well as helping the environment, these projects also provide great learning opportunities for students,” James Shaw said.

The $200m Clean Powered Public Service Fund was launched in January as part of the Government’s New Zealand Upgrade Programme.

Launching the fund, Minister Shaw announced that eight schools and two hospitals would be supported to switch to clean energy. Today’s announcement brings the total number of schools whose coal boilers will be replaced or converted to twenty-six. 

“The Clean Powered Public Service Fund is helping schools, hospitals, universities, and other public organisations to make the switch to clean energy.

“I have visited some of the schools we’re supporting and in a couple of places have seen the old dirty boiler we’re replacing, which are in rooms coated black by coal deposits that have built up over 60 years of someone literally having to shovel coal first thing in the morning so the kids have somewhere warm to learn. I’ve then gone on to visit another school that has already had the work done, and seen a pristine, quiet, hugely efficient wood chip boiler. 

“But, I have to say, seeing the work the fund is supporting pales in comparison to talking to kids and hearing how excited they are to find out that their school is helping the planet they are going to inherit from us. I am delighted that more kids and young people will soon have the same to say about their school,” James Shaw said.

Further information

The 18 schools announced today are:

  • Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Wairarapa (Wairarapa)
  • Waitaki Boys’ High School (Otago)
  • Big Rock Primary School (Otago)
  • Murihiku Young Parents’ Learning Centre (Southland)
  • Meremere School (Waikato)
  • Miller Avenue School (Waikato)
  • Newfield Park School (Southland)
  • Manukorihi Intermediate School (Taranaki)
  • Ohakune School (Manawatū-Whanganui)
  • Greytown School (Wairarapa)
  • Ohau School (Manawatū-Whanganui)
  • Pukerua Bay School (Wellington)
  • Rosebank School (Balclutha) (Otago)
  • Dipton School (Southland)
  • Edendale Primary School (Southland)
  • Invercargill Middle School (Southland)
  • Pukerau School (Southland)
  • Waikaka School (Southland)

Further schools will be announced later in 2020 and in 2021.

In addition to the 18 schools listed announced today, the Clean Powered Public Service Fund has so far supported clean energy upgrades at eight schools, two hospitals, the University of Canterbury, Lakes District Health Board, MidCentral District Health Board, Inland Revenue, Auckland University of Technology, and New Zealand Defence Force.