Otago set to lead renewable wood energy

A recent report on NZ wood energy has identified a means to reduce carbon emissions in Otago equivalent to removing 237,000 cars from the road. A committee will be formed shortly in Otago as the region looks to make resourceful decisions and increase the use of carbon neutral wood biomass as a source of energy.

There is no shortage of resource as the volume of planted production forestry in Otago would be sufficient to meet the wood fuel demand over the next 45 years – and suppliers like Azwood Energy and Pioneer Energy are already well-established.

Ahika Consulting’s report identified, of the 367 boilers operating in the Otago region, a list of 26 high-priority coal-fuelled facilities that could transition to wood fuel and thereby reduce emissions by a projected 84,000 carbon tonnes per year. Other boiler upgrades could bring the total of displaced greenhouse gas emissions to 640,000 carbon tonnes per year, (the equivalent of removing 237,000 cars from the road).

Director of Ahika Consulting and author of the scoping report, Lloyd McGinty, says promoting wood energy use means “the region is in control of its destiny”, it creates local jobs and prevents reliance on bringing in fuel from outside the region or the country.

McGinty says a “Regional Advisory Group will be set up to progress the project in promoting the ongoing use of biomass in Otago”. It will investigate funding streams for the project, potentially engaging with the Coalition Government’s Provincial Growth Fund. More >>
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