Proposals for a mini-hydro electricity project in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand, and a large wind farm in Manawatu, New Zealand, have won a share of "carbon credits" from the New Zealand government for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and helping to make the country's electricity supply more secure.
"The Government's award of the Kyoto units will help turn this project into something real and tangible that will not only make New Zealand's electricity supply more secure but will also feed into the New Zealand economy."
- New Zealand Windfarms Director Geoff Henderson
Hawke's Bay, New Zealand - December 29, 2003 [SolarAccess.com]
The owners of the projects are Esk Hydro Power, set up by the founder and Managing Director of CJ Pask Winery, Chris Pask, with fellow director Hugh Lattey, and New Zealand Windfarms, a subsidiary of Windflow Technology. They signed agreements with the New Zealand government to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in return for the credits, or Kyoto Protocol emission units.
The projects are two of 15 awarded emission units this month in the first tender round of New Zealand's Projects to Reduce Emissions program.
Pete Hodgson, Convenor of New Zealand's Ministerial Group on Climate Change, said that the two projects illustrate how climate change policy offers new business opportunities in pursuit of a more sustainable energy future.
"These proposals are for a relatively small hydro project and a large, 50 megawatt wind farm," said Hodgson. "The award of emission units enables these businesses to take their projects forward, subject to the usual processes such as those required by the Resource Management Act."
According to Hodgson, the wind farm, that will be located about 10 kilometers southwest of New Zealand's Manawatu Gorge, would produce enough electricity to power 15,000 households, or a city the size of Wanganui, New Zealand. He added that together these projects would reduce emissions equal to 532,008 tons of carbon dioxide between 2008 and 2012, the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
"These two companies are to be congratulated," said Hodgson. "Not only will their projects directly benefit the New Zealand environment by reducing emissions, they will also help to make New Zealand's electricity supply more secure and contribute to the Government's target for renewable energy. That's a win for these businesses, the energy sector and New Zealand as a whole."
Chris Pask said that the proposed mini-hydro project to be built on his family's Toronui Station, in northern Hawke's Bay, could help Hawke's Bay industries that use large amounts of electricity.
"This scheme will produce up to 4.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year, enough to power one or two local industrial plants," said Pask. "At the moment nearly all of Hawke's Bay's electricity comes from outside the region. This mini-hydro scheme would be able to produce local, clean electricity which could help the competitiveness of some of our local exporters."
Geoff Henderson, a director of New Zealand Windfarms, said that the award of the emission units makes the proposed Te Rere Hau Windfarm a viable proposition.
"The Government's award of the Kyoto units will help turn this project into something real and tangible that will not only make New Zealand's electricity supply more secure but will also feed into the New Zealand economy," Henderson said. "We intend using turbines that are designed and made in New Zealand for New Zealand conditions. All up they will have 95 percent New Zealand content."
Emission units are expected to be internationally tradeable when the Kyoto Protocol comes into force. At that point, many countries covered by the Protocol will need to buy extra units to meet their agreed emission targets. Businesses will be able to sell their units as they wish. The New Zealand government will award the units annually as each company achieves the agreed reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
The New Zealand government received a total of 46 bids for the four million emissions units offered in the Projects to Reduce Emissions tender. An independent panel assessed all 46 tenders, while New Zealand's Chief Executive of the Ministry for the Environment, Barry Carbon, took the final decisions.
Details of other projects awarded emission units will be announced as the project owners and the New Zealand government sign agreements.