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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Speech to Bioenergy Association Conference

Today I am pleased to announce a further project that will help improve efficiency and reduce New Zealand’s carbon emissions: a regional renewable heat hub.

As you know, heat energy used in industrial processes and commercial buildings is an area where New Zealand uses a lot of fossil fuels.  

There are opportunities to make cost effective changes that benefit our economy and our environment

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Venture Southland joins with EECA on renewable energy hub

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) will work with Venture Southland to lower energy-related carbon emissions in Southland, improve air quality and provide local employment and business opportunities. Venture Southland to partner with EECA on renewable energy hub

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) will work with Venture Southland to lower energy-related carbon emissions in Southland, improve air quality and provide local employment and business opportunities.

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Venture Southland partners with EECA on renewable energy hub

“Our two organisations will work closely together over the next three years to develop a regional renewable heat hub, which will enable businesses and organisations to make use of renewable wood energy, sourced locally,” Mr Underhill said.

The hub was announced in May by the Minister of Energy and Resources Simon Bridges, with Government committing funding of $1.5 million over the three year life of the project, which aims to switch large users of fossil fuels such as coal to wood energy.

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'Heat hub' to encourage wood as fuel

The Government is promising to introduce more certainty into the Southland wood energy market.
In an announcement last week , Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges said a ''renewable heat hub'' would be established in the province - a $1.5 million, three-year initiative designed to encourage the uptake of renewable energy, particularly by businesses.


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Wood energy can bring many benefits to schools By: Greg Visser, General Manager Business, Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority Posted: 31 July 2014

In our view, wood energy has numerous benefits - economic, social and environmental. But like any fuel, there are pros and cons. If the sole criteria is fuel cost, then wood is unlikely to stack up against coal, which is almost always cheaper to buy. Looking at the bigger picture however, wood can be more cost-effective.

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