Diesel-to-electric bus conversion and Sky Stadium projects seek funding from Greater Wellington for low carbon initiatives

Greater Wellington’s Climate Committee has recommended that the regional council fund two projects aimed at lowering the regional council’s carbon footprint.

Metlink has applied for funding to reduce bus emissions through a diesel-to-electric power bus

conversion trial, and the Wellington Regional Stadium Trust applied for funding for a study into reducing Sky Stadium’s environmental footprint. Both were considered at today’s Climate Committee meeting.

Metlink seeks $550,000 to convert a diesel-powered bus to electric power and trial its operation in the Metlink fleet.

The application supports Metlink’s policy of accelerating the implementation of an electric-powered bus fleet in the region by 2030 to reduce carbon emissions. It forecasts conversion savings of 51 tonnes per year and 761 tonnes per bus over the 15-year lifetime of high use buses.

Conversion would also avoid transferring emissions to new owners when buses are sold at the end of their fleet life.

“This is a great decision by the Climate Committee. If the trial is successful and the economics stack up, conversion of selected vehicles in the fleet could lead to large scale reduction in carbon emissions as buses are converted,” says Transport Committee chair Cr. Roger Blakeley.

“Transport is the largest and fastest rising source of greenhouse gases in the region, and conversion could take us closer to a low emission fleet and give us another weapon with which to tackle the issue.

Other benefits of a successful trial focus on its economics.

“Repowering buses and extending their lifespan through conversion would enhance sustainability and avoid waste from scrapping them. And with new EV buses costing between $700k-$1mn depending on bus size and type there is also a financial case for conversion over more costly investment in new vehicles.”

The Wellington Regional Stadium Trust has applied for $39,500 to develop an Energy Transition Plan to identify, quantify and prioritise opportunities for carbon reduction through building utilisation, energy efficiency, fuel switching and onsite energy generation.

“Congratulations to the stadium for taking this course and bringing its application to us. We’re excited by the prospect of a greener stadium,” says Climate Committee chair Cr. Thomas Nash.

“It’s a regional icon which we hope will become an exemplar for other major organisations looking at investing both in their sustainable commercial future and in mitigating the regional impact of climate change.”

Options available for carbon reduction may include installing solar power for electricity generation, switching from gas cooking and heating to electric, and changing venue lighting to long-life, low-energy consumption LED lighting.

No onward funding has been applied for in relation to the outcome of the study.

The recommendation by the Climate Committee will be considered by the full council in its meeting on 25 August. If endorsed, the application will be funded through Greater Wellington’s Low Carbon Acceleration Fund, which funds one-off initiatives designed to reduce its carbon footprint. The funds are available without cost to ratepayers because Greater Wellington resources it by borrowing against the rising value of its carbon credits.

The fund has previously assisted a range of carbon sequestration projects in regional parks through replacing grazing with large scale planting and wetland development.

“These applications, and those that have been previously successful, show the vital importance of investing in low carbon initiatives. The fund gives us the opportunity to be agile and take quick but considered action in our progress towards reducing Greater Wellington’s carbon footprint throughout the region,” says Cr. Nash.

Updated August 16, 2022 at 3:11 PM

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