Meridian has certified carbon neutral electricity
For immediate release: Monday, 26 February 2007
Meridian Energy first NZ energy company to have certified carbon neutral electricity
Meridian Energy’s electricity – generated from renewable resources – has been certified as carbon neutral, Chief Executive Keith Turner announced today.
Speaking at the National Power Conference, Dr Turner says that after a rigorous process Meridian Energy, the producer of around 30% of New Zealand’s electricity, has received CarboNZero certification from Landcare Research that the generation and retailing of its electricity is carbon neutral.
“We’re leading the way in being the first energy company in New Zealand to have the electricity we sell certified carbon neutral,” says Dr Turner.
“This builds upon our renewable electricity strategy, announced in 2004.”
Dr Turner said the CarboNZero certification process, which is administered by Landcare Research, was independent confirmation that Meridian Energy had accurately measured its carbon emissions for its electricity product, taken active steps to reduce emissions and offset any remaining emissions by purchasing carbon credits. The certification period is until 30 June 2008.
“We have followed international best practice to certify our electricity including adhering to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol developed by the World Council for Sustainable Development and ISO 14064-1, an international standard for the quantification and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and removals.
“But first and foremost we’re reducing our emissions and offsetting those we can’t avoid. And that’s making a difference.
“Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing us today. Energy is traditionally a large source of carbon emissions for many organisations, and electricity a big sub-set of the energy being used.
“We are aware that many of our customers are seeking to reduce their carbon footprint, and supplying them with certified carbon neutral electricity means they can count the emissions from their electricity consumption as zero.
“Meridian Energy has made a commitment to becoming a carbon neutral company, and having our electricity certified as carbon neutral is a positive step along the journey we are taking to being a global reference company in renewable energy,” says Dr Turner.
Meridian Energy: Carbon Neutral Electricity FAQs (February 2007)
Ques tions and Answers
1. What has been ce rti fied?
Meridian Energy is committed to a step by step progression towards the certification of the carbon neutrality of its entire business. We have started with the generation and retailing of electricity as this is the core part of our business and will have an impact on the greatest number of our customers.
Emissions from our subsidiaries and some business activities have not been included, in accordance with the certification process.
2. What carbon emissions are involved in the gene ration and retai ling of renewable e lectri ci ty ?
Meridian Energy owns and operates nine South Island hydro stations and the Te Apiti wind farm in the North Island. It produces about 30% of New Zealand’s electricity.
Carbon emissions come from:
* Diesel used in company owned boats (for getting staff and materials to from and around the hydro power stations)
* Diesel used in generators for testing and back ups
* Fuel used in company owned vehicles and rental cars (for getting staff and materials to from and around our power stations and offices)
* Electricity purchased (to run our power stations and offices)
* Emissions from air travel (for getting staff between offices and to meetings and conferences related to the generation and retail of electricity)
* Office operations 3. What benefits wil l a carbon neutral ele ctri ci ty product offe r cus tome rs?
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the world today. Many people are seeking to reduce their carbon footprint. Buying certified carbon neutral electricity means they can count the emissions associated with their electricity consumption as zero.
4. How can cus tome rs be sure they are re cei ving carbon neutral e lectri ci ty ?
The carboNZero certification from Landcare Research is confirmation that the electricity Meridian Energy generates and sells is carbon neutral. The current certification is for the period up to 30 June 2008.
5. Why are you going through this process ?
We think many people are looking for things they can do to reduce their carbon footprint. Buying certified carbon neutral electricity means they can count the emissions associated with their electricity consumption as zero.
6. Is the ele ctri ci ty that Me ridian Ene rgy’s customers use carbon neutral ?
Yes. Landcare Research has certified that the electricity Meridian Energy generates and sells to its customers is carbon neutral.
All electricity produced in New Zealand goes into the national grid (which is like a pool of electricity) and distributed around the country. The electricity that Meridian Energy contributes to
the grid is from renewable sources that do not generate emissions and every year Meridian Energy generates more renewable electricity that its customers use.
7. Wil l cus tome rs’ prices increase as a result of Me ridian Ene rgy going carbon neutral ?
There is no price change associated with the announcement that our electricity is certified carbon neutral.
Pricing decisions are always based on the balance between supply and demand, and that is what we will consider when we make our pricing decisions for residential and small business customers later this year.
8. How was carbon neutral ce rti fi cation achieved?
The process of Meridian Energy’s electricity becoming certified carboNZero electricity has three stages:
* Measuring the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases produced by our electricity generating and retailing activities.
* Having emission reduction plans.
* Purchasing carbon credits to offset any remaining emissions.
Meridian energy has followed a rigorous process to measure and offset our emissions. Landcare Research and PriceWaterhouseCoopers managed the process which resulted in Meridian Energy’s electricity achieving CarboNZero certification.
The process was independently audited by Deloitte and is based on international best practice: the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, an ISO 14064-1:2006 accounting and reporting standard developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
The current certification means our electricity is certified carbon neutral until 30 June 2008. The certification specifically excludes emissions from Meridian Energy’s subsidiaries, farms and business unit Energy for Industry (EFI).
The process is repeated each year and we have to demonstrate compliance with our emission reduction plan in order to continue to receive certification.
9. Isn’t thi s easy for Meridian Ene rgy to do – what’s the real diffe rence ?
Certification makes our commitment to renewables real and meaningful to our customers. They can now say with certainty that the carbon footprint of their electricity consumption is zero.
The process to becoming carbon neutral is complex and requires cultural change and the implementation of systems for accurate data collection. We recognise our starting position is relatively good compared to other organisations because we’re a renewable electricity generator.
This is the first step in a big journey to achieve carbon neutral certification across our entire business and we still have a long way to go.
10. How long wi ll the ce rti fi cation las t for?
Our electricity is certified as carboNZero electricity until 30 June 2008. Each year, compliance with our emission reduction plan will have to be demonstrated and a new inventory and offset plan supplied and audited to Landcare Research’s carboNZero standards.
11. Why isn’t Me ridian Ene rgy using carbon credits from its own projects ?
We believe it is best practice for organisations to purchase verified carbon credits from other companies rather than use their own projects to offset their own carbon liability.
12. Can I become ce rtified carboNZe ro?
Yes. Go to the carboNZero website to find out about the process of measuring, managing and mitigating your emissions.
As a Meridian Energy customer you can count your electricity consumption as zero on your carbon footprint calculation. You will then need to take responsibility for any emissions that you can not reduce by purchasing emission offsets.
13. Why is Me ridian Ene rgy s til l sending me paper bi lls ?
We’re working on it. Soon we will be asking customers to help us by updating their email addresses so we can communicate online.
14. Why have emis sions from Meridian Ene rgy’s business unit Energy for Industry (EFI) not been included in this step?
EFI is a specialist business unit focused on improving the efficiency of large energy users such as Auckland, Nelson and Dunedin hospitals. The fuels used include coal, gas, biomass and landfill gases.
A key aspect of EFI's expertise is in improving efficiencies wherever possible for on-site industrial heat and power plants and thereby reducing emissions. The calculation of the overall emissions impact of these projects involves applying standards that are more complex and uncertain than those relating the generation and retailing of electricity. We are working to quantify EFI's emissions profile so that these can be accurately measured and mitigated in the future.
15. Why are you adve rtis ing your carbon neutral ce rti fi cation in newspape rs ?
We believe the importance of communicating this announcement justifies one-off advertising in newspapers.