Friday Offcuts 14 April 2023
Click to Subscribe - It's FREE!In New Zealand, submissions into the Ministerial Inquiry into Land Use closed on Thursday 6 April, just before Easter. The inquiry’s been looking into past and existing land uses along with storm damage and its causes, current practices and regulatory and policy settings following the recent devastation across East Coast communities from recent cyclones. This week we’ve built in commentary and a link to the full submission from the Eastland Wood Council (EWC), representing around 80% of plantation forest owners in the affected Gisborne and Wairoa districts. A number of mitigations by member forestry companies are going to be implemented in the short term and longer term, the EWC is calling for a detailed risk assessment process to identify land that should be converted from its current use or retired altogether.
The Forest Owners Association in their submission is calling for more plantings for land stability but at the same time, appreciates that forest practices will have to be improved with land use risks increasing through climate change. And environmental groups, as part of their submission, are calling for sweeping changes to regulations governing plantation forestry across New Zealand. Links to all three submissions are included in the stories below. The inquiry time frame was short, as is the report and recommendations being made by the panel. They’re due to report back to Ministers in two weeks time, by 30 April 2023.
In line with the buzz around the forest industry meeting up again this year at Residues2Revenues 2023 to dig further into some of the innovative techniques being used to extract, transport and process forest residues, we’ve built in a couple of relevant residues stories into this week’s issue.
For the Kiwis, at last year’s event, a funding scheme was outlined, EECA’s GIDI fund, that was aimed at transitioning medium to large commercial and industrial process heat users from fossil fuels towards electricity or biomass. It was pitched at the demand side and designed to help fund businesses that were looking to convert their boilers away from coal. With demand now really ramping up, the logical next step is to provide assistance to those looking to extract and supply woody biomass. A new fund has just been opened for forestry companies, contractors, biofuel aggregators through to those producing boiler ready fuel like wood pellets.
The GIDI fund aligns perfectly for companies looking to invest in new technology or equipment to process forestry residues. Details of an in- field chipping workshop, supported by EECA, set up to run before the June Wood Residues event have also just been posted onto the website. Technology leaders in wood chipping, grinding and shredding in this part of the world, Komatsu (Peterson/Astec Group), Hydralada (Bandit Industries), Bruks Siwertell, AB Equipment (Vermeer Corporation), and the Stevens Group (Morbark) will be involved. Details can be found on the wood residues event website. And news just out of Europe is being welcomed by major pellet suppliers with woody biomass continuing to be recognized as a renewable energy source in the EU. And that’s it for this week.
This week we have for you:
Forest owners back more trees for TairāwhitiThe Forest Owners Association has told the Ministerial Inquiry into land use in Tairāwhiti, that the region’s future has to include more trees for land stability. But it appreciates forest practices also have to improve with increasing land use risks from climate change.
The FOA has just released its submission to the Inquiry, saying it’s looking to solutions to the wood and silt damage to downstream areas from Cyclones Hale and Gabrielle earlier in the year. FOA President, Grant Dodson, says technical assessments show that the two cyclones shifted 100 million tonnes of soil in the region, with half of that then getting into waterways.
“Foresters lost areas of healthy growing trees up to ten years old in landslides. We’d not experienced that before. Climate change has altered the rules. FOA, and the Eastland Wood Council in particular, are focussed on solutions in our submissions, and these must provide incomes for people in the region. We’d expect the future of Gisborne and northern Hawke’s Bay for a long time to come will continue to be based on forestry and farming.”
“Let’s make it clear though, that the terrain and remoteness make both forestry and hill country farming in this region a very difficult enterprise. Accelerating climate change make it even more difficult. Stabilising the landscape to prevent woody debris flows will take decades, and it’s unrealistic to expect it to ever be completely achieved.”
“But there are short term hopes that both land uses will be able to process more of their raw material output in the region itself, using wood fuel which would otherwise cause risk left on the harvest sites,” Grant Dodson says. “So long as the economics can be worked out, we could eventually get to where no energy source needs to be imported into Tairāwhiti ever again.”
“For forestry itself, we would anticipate a relocation, away from where some of the higher risk plantation forests are. On one hand, we expect a government supported managed withdrawal of forest harvesting in the more vulnerable slopes and weaker soil geologies.”
“On the other hand, the same increase in slip vulnerability on farmland would most likely lead to planting pine forests and other land stability plantings on much of that land, so long as harvest risk was reduced.” Grant Dodson says he’s cautious about the enthusiasm to plant large areas in native trees. “Without doubt, there will be native tree planting for land stabilisation and bio-diversity.”
“But it has to be realised that indigneous tree establishement is expensive, and it’s difficult for slow growing native trees to become established, with the region predicted to have more droughts and ongoing storm damage from now on. And, unlike with plantation forestry and farming, planting native trees doesn’t produce an income product. Even their carbon sequstration capacity is also insignificant until many decades into the future.”
Grant Dodson says he hopes the Ministerial Inquiry will set up a structured and wide ranging plan for reform of land use, the downsteam economy and more resilient transport infrastructure in Tairāwhiti, which will compel future governments to give their support to.
“Land users themselves can only do so much. There are two other vital components in making these ambitions work. One is committed engagement by central government. The other necessary factor is the close involvement and support of the local communities.”
FOA’s submission can be read here
Source: Forest Owners Association
Calls for identification of land to be retired from forestryThe Eastland Wood Council (EWC) - Te Kaunihera Pororākau o Te Tairāwhiti representing around 80% of plantation forestry in the region has released its submission (which can be viewed or downloaded here) to the Ministerial Inquiry into Land Use, which outlines a number of mitigations member forestry companies will be implementing in the short term. Longer term, EWC have called for a detailed risk assessment process to be undertaken to identify land that should be converted from its current use or retired altogether.
EWC CEO, Philip Hope says: “There is no silver bullet that will immediately solve the issue of slash and sediment in Tairāwhiti, however we recognise that forestry has lost its social license to operate, and we are committed to fixing this and being part of the solution.”
EWC’s submission outlines a range of options that need to be considered as part of a proposed detailed risk assessment of land across the region, as well as measures to be taken to support a transition in land use in the highest risk areas.
“It is clear that in some places, we need to change what we do with our land, particularly the highest risk hillsides, with skeletal soils that are most at risk of failure. Cyclone Gabrielle caused damage to plantations and associated landscapes at levels not previously seen inside forestry gates, and the extent of debris movement from the collapse of younger aged trees during recent storms is unprecedented.
“While the extremely vulnerable soils are widely acknowledged as a challenge unique to our region, the increasingly severe storms we are experiencing are not, and yet they are becoming more common. It is time to take another look and reassess how we use some of our land,” Mr Hope said.
The scientific risk assessment proposed by EWC would consider, on a catchment-by-catchment basis, the inherent risk of the land and identify those slopes where failure cannot be mitigated. Risks proposed for consideration include: skeletal soils, areas impossible to harvest without the adequate management of debris and slash, areas that would never be harvested for safety or access reasons, areas where soil strength would fail under a heavy crop and areas that have a very high susceptibility of land-sliding and connect to waterbodies.
EWC recommends that those areas identified as at risk should be mapped and resilience building, or alternative uses identified. Some options proposed by EWC include:
• retirement and managed transition to indigenous vegetation,
• transition to alternative non-production species,
• conversion to natural capital regimes, including biodiversity and carbon,
• relocation of dwellings or infrastructure,
• development of engineered and vegetative mitigation measures (e.g., wetland development, living slash fences, engineered debris nets).
“Whilst the forest industry can provide some mitigation measures, at the same time it will be necessary to look at what is allowed to happen downstream as well. That includes identifying the infrastructure that is vulnerable and redesigning that, not building on high-risk flood plains and overland flow paths and developing community-based responses to support the transition in land use, including new employment opportunities, and fair compensation for landowners,” Mr Hope said.
“Managed retreat is a subject that has been widely discussed in the wake of New Zealand’s most recent storms. Given the increasing severity of storms and our changing climate, we need a plan for managed retreat of some of the most vulnerable land including that which is currently in production forestry. However, we are clear that forestry still has an important role to play in Tairāwhiti, bringing economic, social, and environmental benefits to our whānau and communities.”
“In many cases, the majority of plantation forests in our region were established by the Government or under Government-funded schemes in response to past significant land erosion and slope failures. The forests were established for soil and land conservation purposes as well as to bring long term economic wellbeing, and in many cases, this has been achieved. In the face of increasingly severe weather, it is now clear that we cannot continue as we have been, and we need to take another look at what is happening on the most vulnerable land.”
“For any land conversion to be successful, this will need to be reinforced by mechanisms to support a sustainable transition to alternate land use, and long-term plans to manage the retired land. This won’t be a short-term fix, but the Eastland Wood Council is committed to collaborating with central and local government, iwi, Gisborne District Council, mana whenua, Trust Tairāwhiti and other stakeholders, to help establish reasonable expectations for the ongoing management of these highly erodible and unstable lands, especially as plantation forestry will continue to be a land use option for Tairāwhiti in the medium and long term,” Mr Hope added.
Source: Eastland Wood Council
New funding for contractors for biomass innovationEECA has a new fund which could be of assistance to those looking to make a start in the biomass business in New Zealand or increasing production of an existing business.
EECAs role is to decarbonise New Zealand. One of the key strategies is to transition med/large commercial and industrial process heat users from fossil fuels towards electricity or biomass.
The EECA GIDI fund has for several years been funding the demand side - helping fund businesses to convert their boilers away from coal. There is now a new fund open (Biomass Supply Chain Investment Fund) to deal with the supply side of biomass. This fund is designed to assist any organisation who can contribute to increasing the supply of biomass (chip, hog fuel, pellets).
The fund can provide grant assistance throughout the value chain from forestry companies, contractors, aggregators to those producing boiler ready fuel like pellets. The fund for the South Island has opened now and will open for the North Island in June.
Details on eligibility can be found here and details of the registration of interest form here. The fund has opened now in South Island and will roll out to North Island in June. It’s designed to offer support to anyone in the value chain who can increase biomass supply.
It's likely that a feasibility study or initial business plan will be needed to accompany the application so time to start thinking about this now. Rob McBrearty (Biomass Market Development Lead at EECA) is happy to talk to anyone considering this and has some co-funding for use of consultants as most in the industry have day jobs and little time to write up plans. Rob's contact details are email@example.com or Tel: 0274 534 846.
Kea Atmos stratospheric aircraft takes flightNew Zealand’s first solar-powered stratospheric aircraft has been built and flight testing has commenced. This aircraft will be a game-changer for collecting high-resolution aerial data for applications such as extreme weather events, environmental monitoring and precision agriculture.
The “Kea Atmos Mk 1” will be used for stratospheric flight testing. It has a wingspan of 12.5 metres, weighs under 40 kilograms and will fly at altitudes far higher than commercial airliners. Depending on the location and time of year, the stratosphere in New Zealand typically starts at around 14 kilometres altitude.
“This has been a tremendous effort by the team to design and build this aircraft, it’s an exciting time now that we’ve kicked-off our flight-testing campaign. We’ve started with flying low altitude tests and are planning to steadily build up to stratospheric altitudes this year”, CEO of Kea Aerospace, Mark Rocket says.
Kea Aerospace has been building and flying a range of electric-powered aircraft and high-altitude balloons as part of its program to build a global fleet of solar-powered uncrewed aircraft that will fly in the stratosphere for months at a time. Their X10 aircraft flew in February 2022 for 36 hours non-stop and proved perpetual flight capability at low altitudes. Each aircraft will carry a suite of aerial imagery equipment offering game-changing advances for many industries, vastly improving the data available for activities including environmental monitoring, precision agriculture, forestry, disaster management and maritime awareness.
“The Kea Atmos is the first solar-powered stratospheric aircraft designed and built in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s an incredible challenge to make the aircraft as lightweight as possible to fly in less than 10% of the air density we have at sea level, but at the same time it has to be tough enough to handle flying through the fast jet streams”, Mark Rocket says.
Kea Aerospace is based in Christchurch, New Zealand. High altitude flights are planned this year to take-off from Tāwhaki, on the Kaitorete Spit, located around 50 kilometres south of Christchurch.
Source: Kea Aerospace
Practical log transport & measurement workshopsAs detailed in earlier issues, has been set up for forestry, log transport and wood logistics companies from across Australasia. Wood Transport & Logistics 2023 is being run on 24-25 May 2023 – live in Rotorua with live streaming set up for those outside New Zealand.
Registrations to the event continue to roll in. As well as trade exhibitions and a one-day conference being run over the two days, three pre-and post-conference workshops have been set up and are free to attend for all conference delegates.
Included in the workshops is a session on integrating e-docket workflows from harvest operations through to the customer with Trimble Forestry and a Tasmanian family-owned log harvesting and haulage operation. Case studies from local forestry companies using Remsoft’s platform to create, track and manage operational harvest plans and wood flows will also be covered.
And post event, a short workshop is being run for conference delegates on the Chilean log scanning system, Logmeter, being used for volumetric measurements of logs on truck by companies like Forico in Tasmania. Woodtech has been developing solutions for main players in Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, Germany, Australia, the USA, and Indonesia.
Details on the workshop programmes can be found on the event website. Registrations to the log transport event can be made here. Note: Discounted early-bird registrations to the event finish next Friday, 21 April.
Vale Lindsay Vaughan - LIRA foresterWe extend our sympathies to Lindsay's family at this time. Lindsay was a NZ forester who played a key role in early environmental forestry research in the early days (early photo of Lindsay taken whilst working at LIRA) of the Logging Industry Research Association in the 1980's. He moved back to Nelson following his LIRA career, where he served in as a lecturer at NMIT before taking on biosecurity and other forestry-related roles for Tasman District Council.
Lindsay passed away peacefully at home on April 5, 2023, aged 76. Dearly loved husband to the late Catherine. Much loved father and father-in-law to Jacqueline and Eddy; Jeff and Fay; Michael and Jackie. Adventurous Grandad to Madison; Timothy and Ruth; and Riley. Loved brother of Dennis and Rodney, and a loved and respected friend to many.
Messages c/o PO Box 7103, Nelson 7040. In lieu of flowers, donations to Nelson Tasman Region Hospice would be appreciated and may be made at the service. A celebration of Lindsay's life will be held at Headingly Centre, Headingly Lane, Richmond, on Monday, April 17, 2023 at 1.30pm.
GPS accuracy to 10cm from satellite uplink centreA state-of-the-art satellite positioning service in Southland, in the lower South Island, New Zealand, will bring GPS accuracy to about 10cm, refining data for aviation, search and rescue, and many other industries. The Southern Positioning Augmentation Network (SouthPAN) is a partnership between government agencies Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand and Geoscience Australia.
Land Information Minister Damien O’Connor turned the first sod on site of the uplink centre at the Space Operations NZ Satellite Ground Station in Awarua on Friday 24 March.
He said the greater levels of positioning and navigation accuracy would have benefits beyond the aviation industry, including boosting precision farming, and helping safety on construction sites. The first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, the centre would be part of a network of global navigation reference stations, computing centres, signal generators and satellites.
The process would augment and correct satellite navigation data, allowing for a location accuracy from the present 5m to 10m, to as precise as 10cm, even in remote areas of New Zealand and maritime zones. O’Connor said the project was a vital investment in digital infrastructure essential for New Zealand’s economic future and a fantastic example of trans-Tasman co-operation.
“This will improve safety for people who are in emergency services,’’ he said. “It will improve opportunities for aviation, so planes can be landed with accuracy and confidence in really, really bad weather situations.’’ The project was open access digital infrastructure that gave entrepreneurs, both now and in the future, the opportunity to provide new services and grow the economy, O’Connor said.
It would provide “a platform for anyone with an innovative idea to hook into it in Australia and New Zealand, as they do in other parts of the world. And we will keep up with the evolution of technology. With early Open Services now freely available, SouthPAN enables farmers and growers to use invisible fences and drone-based spraying to manage livestock and crops.’’ It would also improve safety in industries, such as construction, by providing virtual barriers that protected people from heavy machinery.
O’Connor looked out over the flat Awarua terrain on Friday and said, “I guess it’s just about a NZ$750m bit of land’’, a reference to the contribution from the New Zealand taxpayer to this project. But the potential was independently estimated to be of $864m over 19 years for New Zealand, with further developments capable of new wealth creation beyond that.
Lockheed Martin was the prime contractor for the service and the regional director for Lockheed Martin Space, David Ball, said the technology was world-leading. “What’s exciting to me is the new applications and capabilities that will come from the research that we’ll do around this service,’’ he said.
When operations started early next year the Southland facility would work in tandem with a centre in New South Wales. Ultimately SouthPAN would extend to more than 30 reference stations across New Zealand, Australia and further afield, including Antarctica. The technology was already used in Europe, the United States, Japan and India.
NZ ETS changes recommended to stay on trackThe NZ ETS is one of the Government’s main tools to reduce emissions, but the current price settings mean it cannot function as effectively as it should, Climate Change Commission Chair Dr Rod Carr says.
Minister of Climate Change James Shaw has today released the Commission’s second annual advice on NZ ETS unit limits and price control settings, covering the period 2024 - 2028.
Getting the NZ ETS settings right is a technical process, but it is critical to achieving Aotearoa New Zealand’s climate goals. This advice will not impact ETS settings before 1 January 2026. If current settings for reserve prices are triggered, settings for 2024 and 2025 may be changed.
"This year’s advice reflects new data and updates to our approach. Our advice has been informed by new information from the market that emerged after the Government’s decisions on the NZ ETS in 2022," Dr Carr says.
"If the Government chooses to accept the Commission’s recommendations for NZ ETS settings, then it will enable the ETS to do the job it was set up to do. It will also bring the ETS settings back into step with Aotearoa New Zealand’s emissions budgets and targets."
"If the Government declines the recommendations, then it will need a much stronger policy approach to achieve emissions budgets than the one outlined in the emissions reduction plan." Compared to current settings, the Commission recommends:
• Reducing the limit on the number of units available for auction
• Raising the trigger prices for the cost containment reserve and auction reserve price
• Changing to a two-tier cost containment reserve.
In a related article, New Zealand’s Finance Minister Grant Robertson has sought advice on the functioning Emissions Trading Scheme after the price of a unit under the scheme continued to plummet. It has now fallen about $30 in just three months. After spending a year trading above $70 and reaching as high as $88.50 on the secondary market, ETS units, called NZUs - the equivalent of emitting one tonne of carbon - are now trading at around $55 on the secondary market, although units traded as low as $48 on one secondary market on Monday.
Source: Climate Change Commission, NZ Herald
Tightening of forest harvesting rules being pushedNew Zealand’s Environmental Defence Society and Pure Advantage have filed a joint submission to the Ministerial Inquiry into Land Use practices in Tairāwhiti and have called for sweeping changes to the regulations governing plantation forestry in New Zealand.
“EDS published a report in 2019 that recommended changes to the National Environmental Standards on Plantation Forestry (NESPF) to reduce the ongoing damage to the environment from slash and sediment,” said EDS CEO Gary Taylor.
“Those changes were not acted on, largely because of the pervasive influence of the forest companies on government agencies.
“In our submission to the Ministerial Inquiry filed this week, we pointed out that the repetitive damage from poorly regulated forestry operations is a national problem and warrants a fundamental shift in where we plant, what we plant and how we harvest. We have also called for significant changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) which are providing perverse incentives given the need to reduce gross emissions,” Mr Taylor said.
The Executive Director of Pure Advantage, Simon Millar, said that the lesson from Gabrielle is that we need to work more closely with nature.
The full submission is available here.
Wood petrochemical substitutes one step closerBio-refinery start-up Futurity is launching a NZ$1.5 million commercialisation study into turning wood by-products into high-value chemicals. The study will involve working to commercialise technology developed in Europe to turn lignin waste from Oji’s pulp and paper mills into replacements for traditionally fossil fuel-based materials used in automotive, electronics and construction.
Ministry for Primary Industries is putting in NZ$600,000 from its Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund towards the pilot, with Futurity, owned by co-founder and chairman Rupert Paterson’s venture capital firm Prospectors, putting up the remainder.
Chief executive Jacob Kohn said the enzyme technology it was looking to import from Finnish company MetGen Oy was currently operating at pilot scale rather than the commercialisation Futurity was looking to do. The tech works by breaking down the lignin into different sizes which are then separated with filtration units into three sizes with different properties.
“The real difference is that even a lot of what's going on in Europe at the moment is focused on domestic markets for consumption," said Kohn. “We've got a unique opportunity in New Zealand because of our geographic location being in close proximity to Asia Pacific, that we can focus on those markets and collectively, APEC as the largest consumer of chemicals in the world.”
A key market the business wants to zone in on is the phenolic resins used as glue in plywood, MDF and other engineered wood products as well as electronics, semiconductors and brake pads. Another is the “polyol component” of polyurethane foams, which have applications in insulation, packaging, aviation and more.
The third key market is packaging, where Futurity's tech could replace petrochemical sizing agents in cardboard that provide water resistance and strength properties. When the company started investigating markets over three years ago, it looked at 50 to 100 different potential applications before settling on the above targets after preliminary works.
“The reason we've landed on those is both because we've been able to demonstrate performance parity or advantages and we’ve also been able to demonstrate that we can either match the cost or provide a cost saver,” Kohn said.
Earlier works, which will stack up to NZ$3.5m by the end of this year, had also looked at applications of cellulose, another building block of wood, but saw the most potential in lignin. The company wants to revisit cellulose and hemicellulose down the line to enable it to utilise the whole tree.
Kohn said the value added to the input materials could be anywhere from 10 times to 50 times depending on the application. The pilot study is expected to wrap up next year.
Canadian students launch wildfire-monitoring satelliteA student-built satellite from the University of Alberta that will capture images of active wildfires has made it into orbit after a successful launch recently.
The satellite Ex-Alta 2, a miniature satellite about the size of a loaf of bread and weighing about two kilograms, launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Centre aboard the Falcon 9 SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft on 14 March.
"The moment it launched there was a pin-drop silence," Thomas Ganley, lead manager on the AlbertaSat's project, told CBC's Edmonton AM. The atmosphere was celebratory and he and his teammates were there to watch the countless years of their hard work blast off into space as part of a resupply mission to the International Space Station.
"Everyone was in awe and just jaw dropped looking at the amazing marvel happening in front of us." The satellite, known as a cubesat, is a small, light and affordable device that will burn upon re-entry, meaning it doesn't leave behind space debris. Each mission could take up to a year to complete.
AlbertaSat builds cubesats composed of three units. Ex-Alta 2 includes a multispectral camera, called an Iris, to take the images they need. "We're going to be studying active wildfires post-burn, the effect on vegetation to hopefully enable wildfire scientists to make some conclusions that will help us mitigate wildfires in the future," Ganley said.
"It's quite impressive the amount of technology that you can pack into there and the really valuable science that you can still do with such a small size," he said. Both satellites are part of the Canadian Space Agency's Canadian CubeSat Project and the Northern Space Program for Innovative Research and Integrated Training (Northern SPIRIT), which aim to give students the opportunity to experience a real space mission.
Photo: A rendering of Ex-Alta 2 orbiting the Earth. (Nick Sorensen/AlbertaSat, background Samantha Cristoforetti/NASA)
Forestry leaders conscious of a sensitive situationForestry, a significant New Zealand land-based industry, has become a media whipping boy in recent times, Jim Childerstone writes.
Headlines such as "Pastoral land covered in exotic pine trees" and "Forest harvest slash inundates farmlands, knocks out bridges, destroys buildings and a threat to life and limb" regularly feature in the New Zealand media. Nightly television images depict devastation due to extreme weather events in the Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay regions.
Our exotic pine plantations have reached the bottom rung in popularity among both urban and many rural dwellers. Yes. Many large corporate forests are overseas-owned. But there are also many local investors in large-scale plantations, including small-scale farm foresters and Maori interests.
Most do follow the rules for sustainability and good management under the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certification scheme, but people in the industry admit they are still learning — particularly with the advent of climate change.
The main concern among pastoral farmers is the more recent advent of permanent forests called "carbon farming". Struggling property owners are entitled to either sell up or plant pine trees, which is proving to be more profitable than running livestock. But it is the recent extreme weather events and Cyclone Gabrielle that has really put the heat on forestry.
Post harvest "slash" is in fact a mix of bin wood (off-cuts), reject logs, tree tops and branches sitting on skid sites and landings, but also broken branches left on the cut-over areas. In some areas this residue is processed into biofuels.
DCC City Forests’ Grant Dodson, president of the New Zealand Forest Owners Association, describes this as a "very sensitive" situation. "Forestry companies are working very hard to help their communities but are also suffering a backlash." He warns there are billions of dollars at stake and significant impacts on the community infrastructure — and some very large investments from New Zealand and overseas. Forestry exports exceed NZ$7 billion annually.
The future of the industry has to be carefully managed, he believes, and "sensitive to the considerable social hardship and damage done by the cyclones". Prior to the cyclone and now doubling down on the research are scientists from both universities and Crown research institutes who are working hard on solutions. It could mean changes to forest management systems.
The Farm Forestry Association recommends permanent or continuous cover systems on steep slopes. Mixed species of both exotic conifers and indigenous species should be part of the solution. University of Canterbury Forestry School’s Mark Bloomberg is working on small coupe (0.5ha to 2ha of clear fell sites) and select (one in 10) tree harvest in several steeper areas, including in Hawkes Bay. This allows continued timber production for local processors and stabilisation of catchments.
The Forestry School’s Campbell Harvey is working on accumulations of residues on steep slope harvest sites. Meanwhile a Scion Research team led by Peter Hall has been researching conversion of forest residues into a variety of products such as liquid fuels and processes for heat energy. However, a significant percentage of New Zealand’s population remain ignorant of our forestry industry, how it operates and manages our basic exotic forestry estate.
Woody biomass recognized as a renewable energy sourceEnviva Inc, the world’s largest producer of industrial wood pellets ( www.envivabiomass.com) has welcomed the news that the European Union’s negotiations concluded with an agreement on the Renewable Energy Directive III (“REDIII” or the “Directive”) and is pleased to hear that woody biomass will continue to be recognized as a renewable energy source in the EU.
Although the final text of the agreement has yet to be released publicly, the company also understands that, encouragingly, the agreement does not impose restrictions on “primary woody biomass,” which will be counted as 100 percent renewable and zero-rated in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), provided sustainability criteria are fulfilled.
The agreement is also expected to include: assurances that electricity-only plants already receiving subsidies will continue to do so, meaning Enviva’s existing off-take contracts are not expected to be impacted; continuing availability of financial support to electricity-only installations where Bioenergy Energy Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) is used (this is a pivotal technology for reaching Net Zero and a key focus for many of Europe’s power generators); and the availability of financial support for all other end uses of woody biomass, which should provide further tailwinds to Enviva’s continued growth in combined heat and power, hard-to-abate sectors, and biofuels.
“Today’s REDIII agreement is the last major step towards the end of an 18-month process that is now drawing to a favourable conclusion for the environment,” said Thomas Meth, President and CEO of Enviva. “While there will be some conjecture over the coming weeks, based on information that we have received thus far, I am fully confident that the final text will enable our business to continue to support the EU's journey to Net Zero and will strengthen the platform for Enviva’s growth, especially in light of current high carbon prices”.
“Reputable scientific organizations, including The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), show that bioenergy is integral to achieving global climate goals, and I am delighted to hear that this was acknowledged and reflected in the REDIII agreement,” concluded Meth.
Enviva Inc. (NYSE: EVA) is the world’s largest producer of industrial wood pellets, a renewable and sustainable energy source produced by aggregating a natural resource, wood fibre, and processing it into a transportable form, wood pellets. Enviva owns and operates ten plants with a combined production capacity of approximately 6.2 million metric tons per year in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi, and is constructing its 11th plant in Epes, Alabama. Additionally, Enviva is planning to commence construction of its 12th plant near Bond, Mississippi.
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... and one to end the week on ... eating in the 50's
And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.
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