Golden Bay Cement scoops renewable energy award

Thursday 24 May 2012, 9:59AM

Whangarei’s Golden Bay Cement has been hailed as an industry leader for its use of bioenergy to reduce CO2 emissions, winning the Renewable Energy category in the 2012 EECA Awards tonight (subs: Wed 23 May).

The company has cut CO2 emissions by a huge 58,000 tonnes per year and is saving $3m every year in energy costs, as a result of substituting nearly a third of the coal burned in its kiln for wood fuel, sourced from demolition and construction waste.

The project makes Golden Bay Cement New Zealand’s largest known user of renewable wood energy outside the wood processing sector. Its CO2 savings are the highest of any award finalist except Supreme Award winner Air New Zealand, which is avoiding 142,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

EECA Chief Executive Mike Underhill said Golden Bay was setting the bar for other energy-intensive industries.

“It’s inspiring to see a big industrial user like Golden Bay take a leap of faith and start switching to renewable bioenergy, particularly sourced from wood waste. It demonstrates very clearly that large process heat users don’t necessarily need to rely on fossil fuels. We hope this will be an example for other energy-intensive industries like dairy. Industrial heat accounts for more than 30% of our national energy use - and along with transport, it has the most scope for improvement in terms of efficiency and increasing use of renewable energy.”

The project has enabled Golden Bay Cement to meet the strict Environmental Choice criteria, making it the only New Zealand cement able to be used in ‘green building’ projects. It’s also helping Northland industry, generating jobs and revenue for local wood suppliers.

Bioenergy featured strongly in this year’s EECA Awards. The amount of bioenergy used across all entries, is 2.4PJ - equivalent to the energy used every year by more than 60,000 homes, or the size of Dunedin and Invercargill combined.

The Renewable Energy Award was sponsored by Right House.
Highly Commended in that category was Talla Burn Generation, the family-owned company running the 2MW Paul Wilson hydro station in Central Otago. Lakes District Health Board was Commended for its switch from coal to renewable geothermal energy to heat Taupo Hospital, a project which has displaced 300 tonnes of coal per year.

Across all 2012 EECA Awards entrants, the value of energy saved or generated over the life of the projects is $600 million, and the total CO2 emissions reduced or avoided is 1.7 million tonnes.

The EECA Awards are presented in association with Principal Sponsors EcoInsulation, Fujitsu General New Zealand and Vector.

For more on the EECA Award winners see

2012 EECA Award winners - full list

Supreme Winner: Air New Zealand
Transport: Air New Zealand
Large Business: ASB
Small to Medium Business: Ecosystems and Whanganui PAK‘nSAVE
Energy Management: New Zealand Post Group
Innovation: Aurecon NZ and Dominion Salt
Renewable Energy: Golden Bay Cement
Public Sector: New Zealand Post Group / New Plymouth District Council
Community: Greater Wellington Regional Council
Outstanding Contribution: Jeanette Fitzsimons