New Zealand has the equivalent of 1.7 million barrels of oil going to waste in the form of forest waste. Now the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) is hoping to capitalise on that potential by announcing it will offer renewable energy feasibility study grants targeted at large-scale bioenergy or geothermal proposals. Examples includes:
* Process heat required for food and beverage production, e.g. dairy, meat processing, wine production
* Large commercial space heating, for example in hospitals or universities
* Glasshouse complexes.
Under the grant, EECA will fund up to 40 percent of the cost of the feasibility study, up to a maximum of $20,000.
Two rounds of funding are being held, the first of which closes Friday 18 November this year. A second round of funding will be held in March 2012.
Bioenergy Association of New Zealand chief executive Brian Cox has welcomed the news, describing New Zealand’s bioenergy potential as “massive” and untapped”.
“A strong local bioenergy industry would reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and also bring huge economic and social benefits through increased employment,” he said. “It’s very pleasing to see Government supporting bioenergy through initiatives of this kind, and in its recently-released energy strategy.”
More information about the grant is available on the EECA website here.