The Local Advisory Group set up to assist with the new hospital development was able to engage for the first time on issues other than the hospital site when it met today.

Convenor Pete Hodgson said that the work on the site had concluded.

‘A recommendation has gone to Ministers from the Southern Partnership Group and an announcement is likely next month after it has been considered and approved by Cabinet.

"This means the Local Advisory Group can get on and deal with other issues’

"The first of these is how the new hospital will be heated. Dunedin has New Zealand’s only district energy scheme, which heats the current hospital, but it is old and it is run predominantly on coal.

"The opportunity exists to switch to renewables, perhaps wood chips, and it is almost certain that the new hospital will therefore be heated with renewable energy.

"It is also distinctly possible that the hospital could become a cornerstone consumer in a larger district energy scheme involving the University and many other users.

"That depends on feasibility work currently underway with the Dunedin City Council, and with Pioneer Energy who are possible providers. In the final analysis the way forward will depend on costs and prices.

"But we can already be pretty sure that the new hospital will not be using fossil fuels as a heating source.’

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