Meridian targets 100,000 tonnes of carbon reduction

  • Climate Action

Meridian Energy has launched a new programme to support the reduction of emissions from New Zealand’s fossil fuel-fired industrial boilers.

Fossil fuel-fired industrial boilers are the second largest source of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.

The first three projects of Meridian’s Process Heat Electrification Programme will see the energy company work with three companies targeting the removal of more than 15,000 tonnes of carbon emissions from their process heat production per annum, the equivalent of removing over 8,000 cars from the road.

Meridian Chief Executive, Neal Barclay says the combination of long term supply contracts and highly competitive electricity pricing offered by the programme is key to reducing carbon emissions by a potential 100,000 tonnes per annum.

The programme would potentially reduce carbon emissions equivalent of over 50,000 cars every year.   

“We’re offering sharp long term deals to customers that want to reduce their emissions profile by decarbonising their process heat” he says.  

The programme will assist customers in these sectors by providing long term electricity contracts at highly competitive prices, on the proviso that customers use the electricity to help replace fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions. Meridian has been in talks with ANZCO, and Meadow Mushrooms as pilot customers. Barclay says;

“These businesses are showing real climate leadership at a time when domestic customers are making an effort to reduce their environmental impact and international customers are demanding action on sustainability.”

Barclay says the programme is transformational for businesses that would otherwise struggle to commit to electrifying their process heat. “We are in a fortunate position to be able to materially help in accelerating New Zealand’s transition away from fossil fuels.”

“Converting boilers to electricity has been challenging for many businesses due to the new capital investment required and the sunk investments they’ve already made in assets that use significant amounts of fossil fuels.

“Many are keen to convert process heat to electricity for the operational and environmental benefits but are unable to do so because it is uneconomical.  This project levels the playing field and makes electrification stack up commercially as well as environmentally,” Mr Barclay says. 

Kiri Armstrong, Technical Manager at Meadow Mushrooms, says Meridian’s assistance will support the company to progress a project to reduce its carbon emissions by 1,300 tonnes per year by decommissioning the existing diesel-fired boiler on site and replacing it with electric.

“Cutting our reliance on fossil fuels is a huge part of our decarbonisation efforts across our supply chain and operations." 

"We have been actively working on energy management and carbon reduction over many years and Meridian’s programme is a game changer. It tips the scales in favour of electricity for the first time, meaning we can seriously consider this opportunity to lower our emissions."

“While we are still working through the final details, we wouldn’t have been able to progress this project without certainty that the business case for electrification would be sound over the long term and Meridian has made that possible for us,” Armstrong says.

“Electrifying process heat is a massive step we need to take to transition to a low emissions economy in New Zealand," Barclay says. 

"This project proves that it’s possible as long as there’s a willingness from businesses to embrace electricity as the energy source of the future.” 

Process heat accounts for 34% of New Zealand’s total energy consumption and generates 8.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year.  It is used widely in the food manufacturing, dairy, chemical and wood processing sectors.

Meridian’s Process Heat Electrification Programme is now open to expressions of interest from commercial and industrial customers who are looking to electrify their process heat and reduce their carbon emissions profile. The programme is open to new and existing Meridian customers.

Take a look at Process Heat

For media queries, please contact the Meridian Energy Media Team or 0800 948 843

Source: New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Technical paper
'Process Heat in New Zealand: Opportunities and barriers to lowering emissions'