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Bioenergy makes strong running in 2010 EECA Awards

Bioenergy makes strong running in 2010 EECA Awards

The 2010 EECA Awards have been dominated by bioenergy in various forms – showing an increasing interest from Kiwi businesses in new forms of renewable energy.

In total, 14 out of the 32 projects shortlisted in the awards included at least a component of bioenergy in their entries – whether biogas, biodiesel or wood energy - a record showing.

Biodiesel has been particularly prominent. Ruakuri Contracting, winner of the Transport award, is an earth moving and transport firm that switched to biodiesel. Marine tour operator Explore New Zealand also uses biodiesel throughout its fleet, and was highly commended in the Transport category.

The Queenstown Biodiesel Consortium, led by the Otago Polytechnic Centre for Sustainable Practice, was commended in the Transport, Community and Renewable Energy categories. This project pulled together potential biodiesel users around Queenstown to help negotiate a commercial-scale supply contract – a model now being replicated in other regions.

Christchurch City Council is using biogas from the city landfill and waste water plant to power council facilities. It’s also using biomass (wood energy) and biodiesel to replace fossil fuels for heating. Its ground-breaking approach to bioenergy won it the Public Sector and Renewable Energy awards, and it was Highly Commended in the Innovation category.

A biogas project won the Small-Medium business category: pig farm the Lepper Trust got top honours for its use of biogas from pig effluent to generate electricity. NZ Pork, which has supported this and other biogas pilots, was commended in the Innovation category.

The title of Supreme Winner in the 2010 EECA Awards went to Downer NZ. It won the Large Business category for its comprehensive programme to tackle energy use across the company, and it won the Innovation category for its fuel efficiency programme combining driver behaviour change with technology such as GPS and in-cab cameras. Downer – which runs 4,000 vehicles, one of the largest fleets in New Zealand - is also trialling biodiesel.

“Transport is by far our largest national energy user, and only a tiny amount of the energy it uses is renewable. So it’s great to see so many organisations being proactive about trialling and switching to more renewable alternatives,” said EECA Chief Executive Mike Underhill.

“New Zealand’s biodiesel industry is gathering momentum – one need only look at the number of consortia springing up around the country, as well as the increasing availability of biofuels for drivers. This has been spurred on by the Government’s Biodiesel Grants Scheme. Projects like those celebrated tonight, will help spread the message further and eventually move bioenergy into the mainstream.”

The EECA Awards celebrate organisations and individuals who have demonstrated excellence and innovation in energy efficiency or renewable energy. This year, nearly 100 entries were received across the nine categories. Entrants ranged from small businesses to large corporates to outstanding invididuals, spanning public and private sectors and community-based organisations.

Other category winners:

• Westpac won the Energy Management category for the energy component of its company-wide Our Tomorrow sustainability programme, which has cut energy use by 21% and CO2 emissions by 28%.

• The Community award was won by the Energy Efficiency Community Network for an energy advice line for householders that gave expert, tailored advice.

• Professor Ralph Sims, who leads the Centre for Energy Research at Massey University, won the award for Outstanding Achievement in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

ENDS

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