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.”

The three year $1.5 million partnership between Venture Southland and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority is proving to be a successful one with 17 biomass boilers installed or in the commissioning stage in Southland. There are also a number of large scale systems in the pipeline.

Wayne McCallum of industrial dry cleaning firm McCallums Dry Cleaning, told delegates at the recent Bioenergy Association conference about making the conversion from oil and LPG to wood energy.

“Since switching to wood energy seven years ago we’re saving $323,000 a year in fuel costs, and a further $14,500 in avoided boiler maintenance. We have also logged more than 1,400 tonnes of carbon emission reductions.”

Wood Energy South coordinator Cathy Jordan says that the project is now gaining really positive traction as it reaches its final 6 months. Over the last few years we have focused on establishing the foundations and building confidence by identifying and mitigating barriers. 

“One of the most valuable components of this project has been the partnership between Venture Southland and EECA. This combined with the knowledge sharing and support with Bioenergy Association and industry is an incredibly progressive and positive approach. With the collaboration between EECA and Bioenergy Association and its members it is possible to make some strong headway over the next few years as New Zealand works towards meeting its Paris targets.”

Businesses have until 31 December to be eligible for a subsidy towards a feasibility study, and until 31 March for capital grants towards a conversion to wood energy.