We have been trialling alternative sources of energy for some time.
At our Brightwater site near Nelson we are co-firing our boiler with wood biomass. This will reduce emissions by 25%, the equivalent of taking 530 cars off the road. At Te Awamutu we recently trialled wood pellets. There are a few kinks to be ironed out, such as keeping them dry, but we’re encouraged by the results.
We are electrifying our site at Stirling in South Otago where the change-over will take three to five years to complete. With electricity, significant transmission and distribution line upgrades are required so it is a challenge, particularly for some of our bigger sites. For example, a feasibility study to convert our Edendale site in Southland to electricity indicated it would cost around $160 million while our annual operating costs would increase by at least 50%.
We know transitioning to cleaner fuels will require some additional investment and we need to balance this with remaining competitive, that is why we need to take a staged approach.