In the past year Energy for Industry (EFI) commissioned the first stage of a 20 MW dual-fuel energy centre at Washdyke in Timaru.
The steam plant, which currently supplies the New Zealand Light Leathers tannery, DB Breweries and NZ Juice Products, is the first phase of a proposed three-stage development. The next two stages, which will take the overall capacity to 40 MW, have just been granted resource consent.
The Washdyke facility is owned and operated by EFI and is the latest in a string of projects the company has completed in recent years to deliver renewable energy options to its industrial clients, reducing their emissions and often dealing with on-site waste disposal at the same time.
Fifteen of the company's industrial or institutional customers have halved their energy purchases using on-site waste streams, such as wood pulp sludge and other organic wastes for process heat. About half now use a coal and wood blend to reduce emissions and costs. Eighty per cent of EFI facilities have also been upgraded to improve efficiency.
EFI was the first New Zealand energy business to achieve accreditation under CEMARS - the certified emissions measurement and reduction scheme. The company, which also operates the Silverstream Landfill Gas generation plant, offers a range of services all aimed at improving the profitability and sustainability of their clients by reducing energy and emissions costs.
As well as developing new plant or designing process improvements, the company provides advice on energy purchasing across all fuel types, options for on-site power generation and use of market tools - such as demand response - in order to lower overall energy costs.
In the 2010-11 reporting period, EFI converted one of the Dunedin Energy Centre's four coal-fired boilers to wood. Wood fuel can now deliver up to 90,000 gigajoules of energy a year, reducing annual emissions by the equivalent of 9,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. The shift from coal has also reduced sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions in the city.
For the same period, the company's operational sites achieved a 14 per cent reduction in emissions intensity per gigajoule of delivered energy. Corporate emissions intensity fell by 17 per cent - and was less than half the target in the emissions management plan - following improved driver training and a drive to reduce travel.
EFI has carved out this niche market for itself and is committed to helping businesses adopt renewable energy futures. It has established wood supply hubs in Dunedin and Christchurch, operated by its Wood Energy New Zealand unit, which is now being used by other regional customers.
The Environmental Excellence Award category is sponsored by PEPANZ.