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Govt support welcome, doesn’t go far enough

13 April 2014

BANZ Media Statement

Bioenergy Association welcomes Government support for bioenergy but says it doesn’t go far enough

The Bioenergy Association of New Zealand (BANZ) today welcomed the announcement last week by the Minister of Energy and Resources Simon Bridges of three energy efficiency initiatives to improve business productivity, but says that these don’t go far enough and business growth and employment opportunities are being missed.

Mr Rob Mallinson, the Chair of the Bioenergy Association said “In particular the Bioenergy Association supports that the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) will work with meat and dairy plant operators - the biggest users of industrial heat - to identify efficiency opportunities such as improvements to heat recovery processes, boiler tuning and, where economic, fuel switching (e.g. from coal to wood).”

“It is good to see three new carbon reduction initiatives for carbon reduction announced by the Minister on Monday. However, they will not provide the wide range of benefits that other policies could achieve. In particular the opportunity referred to by the Minister, of switching from coal to wood fuel which would not only assist the individual businesses but would assist regional economic development, create additional employment and provide opportunities for Maori land owners. Switching to wood fuel also provides a number of environmental and climate change benefits.”

Mr Mallinson agreed with the Minister when he said that “New Zealand’s forestry sector has significant quantities of wood that would otherwise go to waste and there are real opportunities to turn this into heat. However, it is difficult for regions to develop a renewable resource without businesses committed to using it. It is also difficult to persuade industrial and commercial heat users to switch to renewables without an assured supply.”

However Mr Mallinson added that “It is great that the Minister signalled that the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) is currently exploring the feasibility of solving this issue by creating a network of supply and demand through a renewable heat hub so as to provide a security of energy supply and reduced costs for industrial and commercial heat users. However this initiative requires greater support from Government as it is a typical “infant industry” problem where there are a number of players but it needs a core of parties to get it started. This is often a good area for government assistance. Government can back off once the wood fuel supply market is operating efficiently.”

Mr Mallinson said that the Bioenergy Association was preparing a number of tools, model contracts etc that would encourage the development of the wood fuel supply market but the association’s resources are small limited and it is not able to fund all the work that should be done. “Without Government assistance the opportunities will not be achieved for some years – with Government assistance we can start getting the employment, economic growth and environmental benefits almost immediately.”

“A sound and stronger bioenergy programme can balance the effort being put into petroleum exploration. New Zealand has immense untapped potential for bioenergy, particularly from our forests. A strong local bioenergy industry would reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and also bring huge economic and social benefits through increased employment. It would also go a long way to increasing New Zealand’s contribution to climate change reduction.”

Mr Mallinson added, “Bioenergy is based on well proven technology and so doesn’t require research or low probability exploration such as for petroleum, but what it needs is facilitation so as to speed up growth of the market.”

The Bioenergy Association:

• Mission Statement is “to promote the maximum utilisation of all forms of sustainable bioenergy in New Zealand”.
• Vision is that “Bioenergy in all its forms will supply more than 25% of the country’s energy needs, including 30% of the country’s transport fuels by around 2040.”
• Has over members working across the length and breadth of the various supply chains.
• provides the following services:
o Advocacy: BANZ represents the sector to central and local government to ensure that there is a sound investment environment for bioenergy investments.
o Business services: BANZ hosts a number of webinars, workshops and conferences to bring the most up-to-date information and experiences to members. It also prepares and publishes technical guides and other publications to assist members provide a first class service to their clients.
o Public outreach: BANZ is the voice of bioenergy to the public, the media, and policy makers. We work to assist those of the public interested in bioenergy based initiatives to understand how the use of appropriately trained and experienced people and equipment will allow them to successfully manage risks so as to have successful projects.
• Works closely with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and other government agencies
• Has four Interest Groups which enables a focus on key areas:
o Liquid Biofuels
o Wood Pellets
o Biogas
o Wood Fuel.

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