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Burton: Opening Meridian Solutions - Winstone Pulp

Thu, 28 Oct 2004

Opening of Meridian Solutions and Winstone Pulp International Heat Plant

I'm proud to highlight the partnership between State Owned Enterprise Meridian Energy and successful private sector enterprise Winstone Pulp (WPI) on this project.

---------------------------------

Speech at the opening of new, Meridian Solutions/Winstone Pulp International biomass-fuelled heat plant, Ohakune

It's a real pleasure for me to be here at this function today, both as the local Member of Parliament and as Minister for State Owned Enterprises.

It's in my role as Minister that I'm proud to highlight the partnership between State Owned Enterprise Meridian Energy and successful private sector enterprise Winstone Pulp (WPI) on this project-one that will deliver enormous commercial and environmental benefits, both locally and for New Zealand as a whole.

And it's in my capacity as local Mp that I'm equally proud to acknowledge Winstone Pulp International. WPI is one of my electorate's finest employers, and is one of New Zealand's leading integrated forestry companies. Through solid industry knowledge and innovative practices, WPI has built a viable, high-earning export business, maximising returns from regional resources.

With the recent installation of a new pulp screen room, a new pulp refiner and a state-of-the-art control system, WPI has just completed a major upgrade to its process plant. When combined with a unique refining technique that WPI has developed over six years, the company is now able to produce a specialist grade pulp using 22-37% less electricity. That's equivalent to the annual power consumption of a medium sized NZ town.

This is a real example of the kind of imagination and innovation that is central to New Zealand's future.

One of Meridian's key values is rapport, a word borrowed from the French, which essentially means the ability to get alongside someone, and to work together in a spirit of partnership that achieves the objectives of both sides. And so, just as today's opening demonstrates industry-leading innovation, equally I think it is an ideal example of the rapport between these two organisations-an ideal example of the kind of partnerships that we are working with the business community to build.

The biomass-fuelled heat plant we're opening today epitomises all of those values, highlighting both Meridian's technical capabilities and its ability to partner with and add tremendous value to private enterprise.

Winstone Pulp International and Meridian Solutions have entered into a long-term energy partnership, which will supply WPI with process heat for pulp drying, as well as a 30 megawatt long-term electricity supply contract.

And, in conjunction with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), Meridian Solutions is also carrying out an energy auditing programme, to identify any further areas in which energy efficiency can be improved on the site.

The beauty of this new energy plant is that the majority of the heat requirements are fuelled by waste material such as bark and other wood wastes, as well as de-watered and partially dried pulp sludge.

The project incorporates:

· Upgrades to WPI's sludge de-watering plant · A steam drier, which uses waste exhaust heat to further dry the waste sludge to improve its value as a fuel, and · A major upgrade to the wood-waste fuel handling systems that provide fuel for the heat plant.

Total investment in the heat plant, wood handling facilities and pulp mill upgrades is $12M.

All of this will enable WPI to reduce LPG consumption by around 4 million litres per year, as well as eliminating the need to dispose of 20,000 tonnes of pulp sludge annually. As I've already mentioned this waste will now become fuel.

This means that WPI can avoid the difficulty and expense of replacing its nearly full landfill, which has been re-sown in new forest.

Reducing LPG consumption and moving away from the landfill disposal of pulp sludge provides for a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in the order of 25,000 tonnes per annum. That's equivalent to saving 600 trucks and trailers of coal per year.

I can't think of a better example of a win-win solution. In fact, it's a win-win-win solution! - a commercial win for WPI and Meridian, and perhaps even more importantly, a huge win for the environment.

I congratulate Meridian and Winstone Pulp International on making this innovative idea a reality.

In a country that's now confronting some serious energy issues, you've shown how co-operation, commitment, and lateral thinking can help us answer the major challenges we face.

Congratulations!

ENDS

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