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Carbon credits for glasshouse bio-energy plant

Carbon credits awarded for glasshouse bio-energy plant

A proposal to build a bio-energy plant to heat Southern Paprika’s glasshouses has won a share of “carbon credits” from the Government for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

"Southern Paprika is showing how innovative businesses can use climate change policies to enhance their energy efficiency and competitiveness," says the Convenor of the Ministerial Group on Climate Change, Pete Hodgson.

Southern Paprika grows capsicums for export and the local market, employing 50 staff at its 10 hectare facility in Warkworth. Through a joint venture with Dutch company Levarht, a large international produce marketer, Southern Paprika supplies Japan and Australia with produce that is out of season locally.

The proposed bio-energy plant, due to be completed in 2005, is a combustion and boiler system using woody biomass (sawdust shavings, waste wood and bark) to generate heat that will be stored in large water tanks until required in the glasshouses. It will replace a gas-fired boiler, providing cheaper and cleaner energy than gas or coal.

"Energy accounts for up to 20 percent of operating costs for a heated greenhouse business," Mr Hodgson said. "Southern Paprika’s bio-energy plant makes good business sense by reducing fuel costs. It will also avoid the extra greenhouse gas emissions that would be produced by burning fossil fuels."

The project is one of 15 awarded emission units in the first tender round of the Projects to Reduce Emissions programme. Southern Paprika will receive up to 58,824 credits, or emission units, if its proposal proceeds as planned.

"I hope to see more projects such as Southern Paprika’s coming forward in future tender rounds for Projects to Reduce Emissions," Mr Hodgson said. "The programme is not just for big business. It offers great opportunities for innovative companies to take up cleaner, more efficient energy technologies that have both business and environmental benefits."

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