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Meat Industry Association Calls For Fair Treatment In Renewable Energy Targets

New Zealand’s meat processing sector will need more time if it is to meet proposed targets for renewable energy, says the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

Sirma Karapeeva, Chief Executive of the MIA, said the vast cost of converting coal-fired boilers to alternative heating by the proposed deadline of 2030 would place huge pressure on an industry that is already facing significant headwinds.

If the proposals go ahead in their current form, the sector would not be able to absorb the estimated $80 million capital cost of converting to direct electric, heat pump or biomass options in such a short time frame.

The MIA outlines the challenges facing the sector in its submission on the Government’s Discussion Document on Accelerating Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.

“Many of the proposals are inherently unfair, will potentially damage New Zealand’s largest manufacturing sector and be counter-productive to the Government’s own emission-reduction goals,” said Ms Karapeeva.

“While we support the Government’s ambition to reduce New Zealand’s emissions, any approach must be applied fairly.

“Food processors with low-temperature boilers are being asked to stop using coal within 10 years while the rest of the economy gets 30 years to move from fossil fuels – and even then, their carbon emissions can be offset.

“Natural gas is not available in the South Island where there are a large number of processing operations. A total coal ban would incur very significant costs in the industry.

“A phase-out of all low temperature coal-fired boilers by 2030 would be extremely challenging and the rapid timeframe may prevent the adoption of the best long term solutions. The purpose of the policy is to reduce emissions, rather than a complete ban.

“In their current form, the proposals are an unnecessarily blunt instrument that may have perverse consequences. Our recommendation is that the ban is on all coal-fired boilers where the emissions are not significantly reduced.

“MIA generally supports policies to achieve gross reductions on CO2 emissions, but the policies should be based on robust economic analysis.

“Given that meat processors are being asked to phase down all low-temperature coal-fired boilers by 2030, and do more than other parts of the economy, then it would be only right that processors are treated fairly in making this challenging transition.”

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