Sector policies

The New Zealand Government’s biomass energy sector policies are covered by:

A summary of the New Zealand Government policies and strategies relevant to bioenergy and biofuels in New Zealand is here.

The Bioenergy Association has developed a suite of papers which set out the potential for bioenergy and biofuels in New Zealand.

Combustion of biomass for heat productionn - Information Sheet 48 GHG reduction using wood energy for heat.

Production of biogas and biofertiliser from organic waste - Information Sheet 47: The role of waste and biogas in transition to a low emissions economy

Production and use of liquid biofuels for transport - Information Sheet 33 Greenhouse gas reduction from transport biofuels

Key targets in the strategy for biomass energy are:

Based on the analysis used to assess impact of fuel switching for largely existing heat plant it was concluded that for a ‘Business as Usual’ scenario (ie not change in Government policy to encourage fuel switching) that GHG emissions (Kt CO2 eq) from heat plant will reduce by only 4% out to 2040. Whereas if the complementary measures as proposed by the Bioenergy Association Wood Energy Interest Group are adopted then GHG emissions from heat plant can be reduced by as much as:

  • 42% for Scenario 2 (an encouragement scenario); and
  • up to 61% under Scenario 3 (accelerated encouragement) conditions.

This is a reduction from 6.4 million tonnes CO2 eq to 3.7 Mt CO2 eq for scenario 2 and down to 2.5 Mt CO2 eq for scenario 3. Such emission reductions are a significant component of the total GHG emissions for New Zealand which are 56.7 Mt CO2eq (net emissions for 2014). Energy gross emissions are around 32 Mt CO2 eq, so the proposed GHG emissions savings arising from wood fuel substitution (switching) for fossil fuels are potentially a substantial contribution to what is required to meet the Paris Agreement targets.

The Bioenergy Association focus is on heat plant between 2-10MWth which are of a scale that they would stimulate an orderly development of the wood fuel supply sector.  A focus is on government owned facilities as the employment, climate change, regional development and wider environmental benefits of transitioning from coal to wood fuel are public goods which provide very value to private investors. The prime objective is to grow the biomass fuel supply market so that potential investors are confident that fuel will be available for any biomass fueled heating equipment.

Residential wood pellet heating and small scale heating using pellets or wood chip which are economic in specific niche situations are encouraged as collectively they provide a stimulus to the profile of biomass energy for heating.