The Productivity Commission has completed its inquiry into transitioning to a low-emissions economy and presented its final report to the Government.

The Government asked the Commission to identify options for how New Zealand can reduce its domestic greenhouse gas emissions through a transition to a low-emissions economy, while at the same time continuing to grow income and wellbeing. The inquiry investigates the challenges of, and identifies opportunities for, reducing New Zealand’s emissions, in the context of an ambition to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

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McCallums Group proactive in reducing carbon footprint

Dry cleaning services and reducing carbon footprint go hand in hand for Invercargill’s McCallums Group. The McCallums Group recently installed a low emission bio mass boiler at their Dee street property for central heating and domestic hot water.

McCallums Group manager Wayne McCallum said a main motivation in installing the boiler was the environmental benefits. “The installation will reduce our carbon footprint by about 18 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year,” McCallum said.

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Ruru Specialist School Embraces Wood Energy System

The success of wood energy systems around the region is convincing more businesses and schools to choose environmentally-friendly biomass heating options.

One of the latest schools to be reaping the benefits in a switch to Biomass is Ruru Specialist School, which had a wood energy boiler installed mid last year and has not looked back since.

Ruru Specialist School principal Erin Cairns said there were many factors that influenced their decision to change to the biomass system.

“It was the cleanest and greenest option, and eased any health and safety concerns we had for our students, community and the environment,” Cairns said.

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Mossburn School chooses clean wood energy option

Mossburn School has joined the growing number of southern schools converting to clean burning, efficient wood energy.

When considering automating the coal feed system to the boiler the Mossburn School Board looked into other heating options, it was decided that the small extra expense of switching to wood pellet heating was the best option.

Mossburn School Principal, Rachel Peters said that when they switched over to biomass wood pellets the whole system was upgraded and arrived in a shipping container that became the new boiler room.

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Initiatives up for Environment Awards

Two co-operative initiatives are in the running for accolades at the 2017 Southland Community Environment Awards.

Venture Southland has a long standing commitment to supporting community and industry to undertake ground breaking projects with environmental benefits.

Wood Energy South is a carbon emissions reduction pilot project delivered by Venture Southland and funded by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA). The pilot focused on promoting the benefits of industrial biomass boilers, facilitated and funded conversion of boilers and commissioned additional studies to confirm security of future fuel supply.

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Wood Energy South takes out national award

Wednesday 10 August 2017

The Wood Energy South initiative took centre stage last night in Auckland at the Deloitte Energy Excellence Awards after winning the Large Energy User Initiative of the Year award.

Wood Energy South was a three year carbon emissions reduction pilot project delivered by Venture Southland and funded by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA). It has focused on promoting the benefits of industrial biomass boilers, facilitated and funded conversion of boilers and commissioned additional studies to confirm security of future fuel supply.

Venture Southland GM Business and Strategic Projects Manager Steve Canny said that securing the award is acknowledgement of the considerable work undertaken by the Wood Energy South Team over the last three years.

“We look forward now to other regions taking up the challenge and building on the success of Wood Energy South. There are many benefits of converting from fossil derived fuel to clean burning renewable wood energy including low carbon emissions, low long term costs and significant reductions in the discharge of unhealthy particulates into the atmosphere.”

EECA chief executive Andrew Caseley congratulated Venture Southland on their win, saying the agency has been a great advocate for wood energy in Southland.

“We hope this inspires other large businesses to explore switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The potential to unlock energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions in the sector is vast, and would benefit businesses and all New Zealanders.”

Venture Southland will continue to build on the success of the project, working with EECA to monitor the impact of the project over the next year with the Wood Energy Steering Group.



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Gore Rest Home follows the wood energy pathway

Wednesday 9 August 2017

For Parata Rest Home the conversion to wood energy when their lignite boiler required costly repairs was an obvious one.

The board of trustees had to consider either staying with the lignite option, running the facilities heating systems on diesel or clean burning wood.

The trustees wanted to ensure the system was future proof so lignite was ruled out because of the possibility of future emission charges, as was diesel in addition to its relatively high cost. After consideration wood proved the long-term cost effective option.

Board of Trustee Chair Rex Shallard said that while it comes down to money at the end of the day it is comforting to know that wood is also the healthiest option for both the residents and the wider community.

“We used to be able to smell the lignite in the air and we had to empty the ashes from the boiler at least two times a day; now we empty the ashes once every three months, they can then be used in the gardens at the facility.”

“I would recommend other rest homes seriously consider the option of switching from fossil fuels to this clean and cost effective option. We need to start thinking of long term environmental outcomes for the coming generations.”

Venture Southland GM for Business and Strategic Projects Steve Canny welcomes the decision the Parata board of trustees made when considering the facilities heating options.

“This is a prime example of long term thinking by a progressive organisation. This conversion ticks all the Wood Energy South boxes, we encourage similar facilities to approach us for advice and guidance around biofuel options when considering conversion.”

Wood Energy South Wins Praise at a National Level

Bioenergy Association chief executive Brian Cox want’s to clone the Wood Energy South model and replicate it nationwide.

Mr Cox says the Wood Energy South initiative provides a pathway for other regions to follow.

“The work being undertaken by Wood Energy South is invaluable and proves that real progress can be made towards the large scale conversion of industry and other large fossil fuel users to a bioenergy alternative.”

“Wood Energy South have not just successfully sold the concept, they’ve proved ongoing fuel supply in the region and highlighted long term financial and environmental gains. We now need to see the same work undertaken all over New Zealand.”

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Splash Palace to gain further efficiencies from the conversion to Wood Energy

The quest for energy efficiency continues at Splash Palace following the recent installation of a larger woodchip storage bunker.

Stage one of the conversion of the aquatic centre to wood energy began in 2013 with the replacement of two coal boilers with an Austrian manufactured woodchip boiler. Stage two of the process was the installation of a larger wood chip storage facility.

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Wood Energy Supply Study

Businesses considering switching from fossil to wood fuels can be confident that there is sufficient supply through to 2050. The Wood Energy South project identified this concern from the offset and commissioned a study to quantify the volume of waste wood in the South Otago and Southland Region.

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Takitimu School turn to Wood Energy

The next 25 years heating at a Southland School in the heart of coal country will be provided by wood energy.

Southland School Property Advisor Gavin McKenzie says the irony of a school in the heart of coal country switching to clean burning wood energy was not lost on him.
“We can expect to see two or three Southland schools converting annually as they individually reassess heat options and follow Ministry of Education guidelines.”

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Southland Project Shows Way with Wood-fired Boilers 4/5/2015

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges visited Southland last week and praised the project’s work.
“Southland is home to some exciting energy efficiency projects, it’s great to see local industry is adopting a progressive approach to developing sustainable and economic energy options,” he said.
 “Wood energy is a renewable fuel that in many situations can be used instead of coal or gas. Every Southland business that makes the switch is supporting the local economy as well as making a more environmentally friendly choice, which can only have a positive impact on the region.”

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Austria Blazing the Wood Energy Pathway for Southland to Follow 20/01/2015

With 46 percent of Austria covered in forest it seemed a logical choice to sustainably exploit the environmentally friendly energy resource, an option Southland is currently exploring through Wood Energy South in partnership with EECA.

CH Faul general manager John Faul has recently returned from a fact finding tour of Austria. This trip confirms his belief in the practicality of wood energy as a viable renewable source for industry, rest homes, hospitals and schools, not only in Southland, but nationwide.

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Coal forsaken for clean energy 11/12/2014

Despite its coal mining roots, Takitimu Primary is embracing a sustainable energy heating source.
The school is installing a wood chip boiler to heat the school.
 Principal Lindsay King said the boiler came at the recommendation of the Ministry of Education, which had been investigating the most sustainable and inexpensive heating sources for schools.


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Incentives offered to switch to wood - 30/10/2014

Capital grants of up to $150,000 could be offered to large industry in Southland as an incentive to switch to woodchip boilers.

The Wood Energy South project was formally launched yesterday with about 70 people from businesses, schools and local and central government gathered at SIT Centrestage to be convinced about the benefits of wood energy.

The three-year, $1.5 million project is funded by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) in partnership with Venture Southland.

Wood Energy South technical advisor Lloyd McGinty said the three-year target was to remove 150,000 gigajoules of industry and commercial emissions. As an example, he said a large Southland meat plant could emit about 400,000 gigajoules annually.

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