Residential wood pellet heating sector

Residential Wood Pellet Heaters in New Zealand have been installed for the better part of 20 years.  There have been approximately 15,000 pellet fires (estimated) installed around New Zealand with a significant proportion of those installed in Christchurch and Dunedin. For the last decade there were a number of issues which held back the growth of the sector. The sector is now emerging from that period and is now back on its feet with the issues having been addressed. There are two significant wood pellet manufacturers who are consistently producing pellets to specification. The wood pellet heater retailers are emerging and expanding their businesses based on best practice. The sector growth is underway and participants are having to take on more staff to manage that growth.

In Tasmania the wood pellet sector is starting to emerge.

Consenting by regional consent authorities

In New Zealand and Australia a number of regions or shires are struggling to address the conditions under which wood heating should be regulated so that the air quality is improved. Open fires are generally banned and contained solid wood fires are being regulated so that only low emmission burners may be installed. Regional Air Plans set out the requirements to be met for a wood heater can be installed. Because wood pellet heating is a controlled form of heating the requirements for installing a wood pellet heater are less onerous than those which apply to solid wood fires. Generally in New Zealand consent authorities are following the lead of Environment Canterbury and Nelson City Council.

Bioenergy Association is working with Councils to ensure that the regulations for installing a wood pellet heater are appropriate.

Government encouragement for wood pellet heating

The New Zealand Government supports the installation of wood pellet heating through the Warm Up New Zealand programme.

Residential Wood Pellet Heating Interest Group

The Bioenergy Association has formed a dedicated Residential Wood Pellet Heating Interest Group where members of the Association with a specific interest in the residential wood pellet heating market work collectively to ensure that those seeking information on using wood pellets for residential heating have an independent source of information, and the participants in the market are delivering heating to best practice. The Group takes the lead on activities and initiatives relating to residential heating including articles, research and workshops.