A charitable trust working to get more Aucklanders onto bikes will slash its carbon footprint and expand its service thanks to a grant from Meridian Energy to purchase a low-carbon electric delivery vehicle.
EcoMatters Environment Trust is one of the first community-based organisations to receive funding from Meridian Energy’s Decarbonisation Community Fund, which targets clean energy projects that would not otherwise get off the ground due to a lack of funding or other barriers.
The fund was established in 2022, taking all net proceeds from Certified Renewable Energy, purchased by Meridian’s business customers to match the amount of electricity they use on an annual basis with an equivalent amount of electricity generated from one of Meridian’s hydro stations or wind farms.
The grant will go towards EcoMatters Bike Hubs, which offer free bike servicing, used bikes for sale and loan, parts and accessories, route maps, and other services to Aucklanders.
Carla Gee from EcoMatters says its four community Bike Hubs previously relied on an older diesel van to collect donations of bikes and to move bikes between sites. The electric van will slash the organisation’s emissions by more than 6 tonnes of carbon a year, and allow new Bike Hubs to be set up in more areas of the city.
“As a trust supporting low carbon living, we’ve long wanted to ditch diesel in favour of electricity. That said, our funding supports the direct operation of our hubs, so an electric van has been out of reach for us until now.”
“The new van will help advance our plans to support between 25,000 and 30,000 Aucklanders to get into cycling and provide a network easily accessible to our whole urban population,” Carla says.
Meridian’s Chief Customer Officer Lisa Hannifin says prioritising decarbonisation can be a huge challenge for community groups, but Bike Hubs are a great example of positive change taking place at the grassroots level.
“Transport accounts for almost half of New Zealand’s domestic carbon emissions, so helping more Bike Hubs to be set up around Auckland is exactly the kind of community action we’re pleased to support.
“We’re looking forward to helping more community groups around Auckland cut their emissions and change the way they use energy,” Hannifin says.
Meridian’s Decarbonisation Community Fund makes funding available for electrification or renewable generation projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute directly to communities. Around $300,000 is available for each round of funding, with applications for the next round opening in September. More information about the fund can be found at https://www.meridianenergy.co.nz/community-support/decarbonisation
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