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.
Mr Bridges said business heat accounted for about 30% of New
Zealand's energy use. About two-thirds was generated from
''By encouraging businesses to switch to renewable energy
sources, such as wood, to generate their heat, we can
significantly reduce New Zealand's carbon emissions.''
Mr Bridges said Southland's forestry and wood processing
industries generated 300,000 tonnes of wood waste each year.
''This wood waste could be cost-effectively used for
industrial and commercial heat processes, but it is currently
overlooked because of uncertainty in the market.
''Potential users are concerned about certainty of supply,
and potential suppliers are unsure whether the demand
The renewable heat hub would have the Energy Efficiency and
Conservation Authority work with suppliers and users in
Southland to overcome these barriers.
Mr Bridges' announcement was welcomed by Bioenergy
Association of New Zealand chairman Rob Mallinson.
''There really is no better time to be considering the use of
forest harvest and wood processing residues as a fuel for
hospitals, institutional and industrial heat applications.
''The Government should be congratulated for their
recognition that we can get additional value from wood.''
Mr Mallinson said 10-15% of wood was wasted.
His association wanted to see 25% of the country's energy
supply coming from biomass and municipal organic waste by
2040, and it was considered such a strategy ''could
contribute'' an additional $6 billion to the New Zealand
Venture Southland enterprise and strategic projects group
manager Stephen Canny said two good examples of businesses
already using wood energy in Southland were McCallum
Drycleaners and the Southland Aquatic Centre ''Splash
''There are increasing numbers of interested parties -
schools, hospitals, you name it. There's an increasing
interest in switching to bioenergy.''
Mr Canny said how the money would be spent had not yet been
finalised but it was likely to be used to investigate the
feasibility of businesses switching to wood energy.
He said it was too early to comment on whether the money
would be available as a subsidy.