20 June 2017 – Wellington, New Zealand - New Zealand Energy Corp. (the “Company”) (TSX-V: NZ) announced today that it has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers, Chartered Accountants, New Zealand as auditor of the Company effective 20 June 2017. Given the consolidation of the Company’s head office and administrative functions in New Zealand, it was deemed appropriate for the audit to be managed by an auditor based in New Zealand rather than Canada. The resignation of the Company’s former auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Chartered Accountants, Vancouver, BC, was accepted by the Company effective 20 June 2017.
On behalf of the Board of Directors
| A New Zealand Energy corp release || June 20, 2017 |||
Prime Minister Bill English has announced funding to kickstart a major upgrade of the electricity network in the Tongan capital.
New Zealand’s early commitment is expected to assist Tonga to attract other investors for the project.
“Our $5 million support will help provide safe, reliable electricity to around 8,500 households and businesses in Nuku’alofa and save around $1.1 million a year through reduced line losses,” Mr English says.
“This builds on New Zealand’s previous energy investments in Tonga, which include Tonga’s first large-scale solar farm in 2012, and other significant network upgrades.
“Access to clean, reliable energy is essential for businesses to thrive and to reduce reliance on fossil fuels used by diesel generators.
“We recognise this, and we are working with Tonga to help it achieve its energy goals.”
The Prime Minister made the announcement while in Tonga as part of the 2017 Pacific Mission.
The BusinessNZ Energy Council (BEC) today released the second in its series of reports on energy scenarios to 2050. This report looks at the contribution the energy and transport sectors can make to emission reductions (BEC 2050: A deep dive into the New Zealand energy and transport sector emissions).
"The challenge of meeting our Paris Agreement target of a 30 percent reduction in emissions from 2005 levels by 2030 lies ahead of us," said BEC Chair Hon David Caygill.
"In taking our scenarios work to the next level we can now better understand both the scale of the challenges and the nature of the opportunities to reduce emissions.
"As a country we aspire to both high growth and emissions reductions to help us meet our Paris Agreement commitment. We also need to balance this with energy security and affordability.
"If we knew the future, reducing our energy and transport sector's emissions would be easy. But we don't. Our scenarios help us move beyond the usual practice of assembling disconnected technical possibilities to focus on what levers we have available to practically unlock our emissions reduction potential.
"Our two scenarios describe different ways the energy and transport sectors can contribute towards emissions reduction. But the scenarios are more than just storylines. They also show how different assumptions about the future – for example, economic and population growth, and the price of carbon - affect how much reduction can be achieved, and which levers should be investigated further by policy makers.
"For the first time across the entire New Zealand energy and transport sectors, we now have modelling that reveals just how sensitive New Zealand's energy emissions are to the key uncertainties the sector is grappling with – technology, economic transformation, the pursuit of higher renewable energy levels and transport behaviour.
"With this work we can better understand the range of choices and trade-offs for the energy and transport sectors to meaningfully contribute towards New Zealand's emission reduction target.
| A BusinessNZ Energy Council release || April 10, 2017 |||
Vector today announced another step in its strategy to deliver efficient, sustainable energy solutions to consumers, with the acquisition of two companies, E-Co Products Group and PowerSmart.
E-Co Products, better known as HRV, is a total home solutions business that has built a deep and strong connection with New Zealanders, helping to create healthier homes.
PowerSmart is a leading provider of innovative large scale sustainable power solutions in New Zealand and the South Pacific.
Vector Chief Executive, Simon Mackenzie, says the businesses will continue to operate independently and provide Vector with complementary channels to deliver innovative technological energy solutions directly to consumers.
“As new and disruptive energy solutions become available, the way energy is produced, consumed, and monitored is changing. We are focused on leading energy innovation and empowering customers by offering them choice and control.
“The acquisition of both E-Co Products Group and PowerSmart will boost our ability to deliver these new solutions, at both a household and commercial scale. These companies share our vision of a new energy future and we believe it’s an excellent fit for all parties,” Mr Mackenzie said.
E-Co Products Group Chief Executive, Bruce Gordon says E-Co Products is very excited to be joining the Vector group.
“As New Zealand’s leading energy solutions provider, Vector can provide key expertise and innovation in areas that will benefit our business and take it into a new era,” he said.
PowerSmart Chief Executive, Mike Bassett-Smith, says Vector’s scale and network expertise will assist with the company’s growth plans.
“As the economics of solar and batteries continue to improve, we can leverage Vector’s knowledge and experience to undertake ever larger, more complex projects,” he said.
Both acquisitions are subject to customary conditions and settlement is expected to occur on or around 31 March. The acquisitions will be funded from Vector’s existing facilities and are expected to be earnings accretive in FY2018.
I’ve been investigating the potential impact of technological change on building and construction in New Zealand over the next 15 years. It’s made me think, in particular, about how technology in buildings can help us reach our lower carbon targets – just what my colleague Nick Collins was talking about in February’s blog.
Technology is at the forefront of improving building performance, particularly in leveraging the potential of increasingly ‘smart’ or ‘intelligent’ sensors, systems and analysis to provide data which can improve building operation.
This often refers to commercial buildings with building managers, but technology has the capacity to help us meet carbon reduction commitments through energy efficiency in our homes.
Smart meters, for example, help consumers to manage and adjust their energy/water usage at the house level and enable smart grid infrastructure at the city level. Smart meters generate usage data which can, with the appropriate security and privacy measures in place, interact with city-wide systems to manage demand, identify households in fuel poverty and interact with micro-generation of renewable energy.
In New Zealand the rollout of smart meters was left to the market, rather than regulated (compare this to the UK government which wants smart meters in all UK homes by 2020). According to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, the meters rolled out are not particularly ‘smart’ – “They could have included a low cost component that would link the meter to a home area network – a network that connects the devices in the home that use electricity. This would have made it easy for householders to access real-time information on their electricity use using conveniently located displays, and enabled the introduction of smart appliances.”
Not only would smart meters benefit homeowners, they would enable smart grid implementation in New Zealand. Smart grids use modern digital communication technology to link with end user area networks (through really smart meters), establish better interconnection between distributed energy sources such as photovoltaic cells, and (ultimately) enable the integration of electric vehicles into the system. Distributed and autonomous power generation and usage is critical, with microgrids relying on typically renewable energy sources such as hydro, bio-mass, solar, wind, and geothermal.
Meanwhile, rapid developments in solar, storage, sensor and ‘smart’ technologies are allowing energy consumers to gain direct control over energy resources - self generation, self storage and self energy management. Solar PV panels have been improving exponentially - as solar capacity doubles, the cost of solar goes down by 22% every two years since 1970. Developments in energy storage and improvements in battery technology (for example, Tesla’s Powerwall) are fundamentally transforming the energy sector by integrating renewable energy into electricity grids and turning intermittent renewable power into a direct competitor to base-load power. Solar storage costs are going down at the rate of 16% pa. The spread of these technologies is being helped by innovative concept business models involving zero money down and third party finance (for example, SolarCity which treats its product as a service) and the growth of smart appliances that help consumers maximise energy efficiency.
How efficiently our homes operate needs to be recognised as a key element in lowering our carbon emissions. Technology can help us get there!
Will alert environmentalists, Greens, to renewable value , emissions reduction, organics
Napier advanced agri process technology specialist TEKAM is bringing to New Zealand Peter Franke a world leader in turning agricultural waste into electricity and in the process ridding farms of the effluent which increasingly threatens drinking water.
Mr Franke is the founder of Germany’s Bio Ost which is a leading developer of closed loop systems which collect effluent, notably the dairy version, and convert it into energy for refrigeration and other milking systems, and also for distribution into the national grid.
These closed loop effluent-to-power systems are commonplace in Germany where installers are offered generous subsidies to install them.
The other Baltic nation leading in closed loop effluent-to-power is Denmark.
The Danish government has set a short term target of up to 50% of livestock manure to be made into this green energy supply.
Power derived from biogas and fed into the national grid is exempt from taxation in Denmark.
Mr Franke will advise on the installation and commissioning of on-farm plants and will outline returns to users in terms of energy recovery and in obtaining fertiliser by-products.
He is expected also to talk to local government officials about the value of the plants in reducing runoff contamination threats and also how the plants reduce methane emissions.
Similarly he will outline the benefit in which weed seeds and pathogens are killed during the biomass digestion process, thus lessening the farm need for synthetic herbicides and pesticides.
Ken Evans of TEKAM said that in his New Zealand visit Mr Franke will focus exclusively on discussing the technology and the cost-benefits of the on-farm bio gas installations.
Mr Evans’ TEKAM organisation is working in conjunction with Napier Engineering & Contracting on introducing the effluent-to-energy technology to New Zealand.
He noted that he did not anticipate any discussion of introducing state incentives, subsidies for these plants such as exist in Europe.
Mr Franke instead he said would focus on the practical evidence of his company’s world wide effluent-to-energy installations.
The problem in New Zealand of effluent finding its way into ground water would though be a priority topic, he said.
According to Mr Evans, New Zealand had been an early developer of dairy waste into energy conversion systems. But these early plants along with their associated research and development had been abandoned when the millennialist energy crisis scare failed to materialise.
New freshwater reforms will result in 56,000 km more fences protecting New Zealand waterways from stock – enough to go round the world one and a half times, says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.
The new rules on stock exclusion are part of the Government’s plans announced today setting a target for 90% of rivers and lakes to be swimmable by 2040.
“Farmers have made huge progress in recent years to improve their environmental practices and this will be another important step forward. Dairy farmers have already voluntarily fenced off over 24,000km of waterways,” says Mr Guy.
“We know that stock standing in or regularly crossing waterways can do significant damage. While dairy farmers have voluntarily fenced off around 96% of their waterways, we want to extend this to other types of farms as well.
“The proposed national regulation would ensure that dairy cattle, beef cattle, pigs and deer are kept out of waterways.
“We need to ensure the changes are practical for farmers, so the exclusions would be implemented in a staged process starting this year through to 2030, depending on the stock type and land slope.
“There are long term benefits for the primary industries and wider economy from these reforms. Overseas markets and consumers increasingly demand a strong environmental performance over and above regulatory requirements. In this context, protecting New Zealand’s natural advantage has never been more important.
“No single organisation or group is solely responsible for improving our water quality. Meeting the target will take a collective effort, but the primary industries have a key contribution to make.
“In the meantime, the Ministry for Primary Industries continues to work with the primary sectors to invest in good ideas which promote environmental best practice. One example is the Farm Systems Change program, which identifies high preforming farms and uses farmers’ networks to spread their knowledge.
“Another is a major programme under the Primary Growth Partnership, called Transforming the Dairy Value Chain. Under this programme effluent management systems have been improved, and every region now has a riparian planting guideline developed in conjunction with regional councils.
“As a Government we are committed to growing the primary industries at the same time as improving water quality. Water storage schemes like Central Plains Water and the Waimea Community Dam help in this by taking pressure off groundwater sources and maintaining summer river flows, delivering both economic and environmental benefits.
“We also know that science will play a major role in improving our freshwater. The ‘Our Land and Water’ National Science Challenge is investing $96.9 million over 10 years into this, hosted by AgResearch and involving six other Crown research institutes.
To read the proposals, and find out how to have your say, visit www.mfe.govt.nz
The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) today opened the latest funding round for Crown loans to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects across public sector organisations
EECA Business General Manager Greg Visser said public sector organisations could access interest-free loans to invest in energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy technology.
“The opportunities are many and varied. A hospital may swap environmentally unfriendly boilers for heat pumps, a polytech might retrofit super-efficient LED lights, or a council might receive assistance to invest in electric vehicles,” Mr Visser said.
“Invariably, entities such as hospitals and universities have higher priorities than saving energy. But these targeted, interest-free loans mean funding is not diverted from core priorities. Indeed, ongoing energy savings allow more money to go into those priority needs.”
In a previous funding round, Southern District Health Board got funding to upgrade energy management systems at Southland Hospital using a combination of Crown loans and EECA funding. The project will create energy cost savings of $138,000 and carbon reductions of 1,350 tonnes a year.
EECA research shows that public sector organisations, just like any business, can save up to 20% of the energy they use through smarter energy use. That can have a big impact on energy bills. There are also other benefits such as improved patient comfort through better building lighting and heating and cooling.
EECA can also use its expertise in energy efficiency to help Crown entities develop an energy management plan across all its parts so there is a long-term focus on energy management and savings.
Mr Visser said the loans are a great chance for public sector organisations to be innovative and prioritise energy management. The latest round, totalling $2 million, closes on 31 March.
In the past five years, 38 public sector projects have received Crown loans, resulting in cumulative savings of $9 million and carbon reductions of over 5,000 tonnes each year.
| An EECA release | February 24, 2017 ||
Early adopters of new technology that cuts energy use or carbon emissions can get support for their innovative project in a new funding round announced by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) today.
EECA provides support towards the cost of energy saving or renewable energy technology that has yet to be widely adopted in New Zealand.
“We are looking to support technology that is innovative, under-utilised or has not been applied in the New Zealand environment,” said EECA Project Manager, Dinesh Chand.
“We are looking to support pioneering projects that can be replicated by other companies so that energy savings go beyond the innovator.”
“Replication potential of projects like this is important. The support is provided to help share the risk for the early adopter. There is a national advantage if energy-saving technology is successful and if others take it up.”
Funding for both capital and showcasing the technology can cover up to 40% of the project costs to a maximum of $100,000.
The Technology Demonstration Programme is part of EECA’s work with business to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy.
To qualify for funding, projects must reduce energy intensity or greenhouse gas emissions, be applicable to multiple businesses in a sector, and must be financially viable, with a reasonable payback period.
“Applicants must also commit to having their project independently monitored and to promoting the project and the outcomes from it,” Mr Chand said.
A standout project from the previous funding round was Ports of Auckland Ltd (POAL), which received funding to install LED floodlighting, the first New Zealand port to do so.
While LED lighting has been around for some time, the lighting intensity and reliability suitable to the harsh port environment had not been up to the mark.
“We can’t wait to demonstrate the effectiveness of LED floodlighting at our port,” said Ports of Auckland CEO Tony Gibson, who has set the goal of POAL becoming New Zealand’s most sustainable port.
“This is a very exciting project and it really is just the start of what we hope to achieve through new technology.”
Mr Chand hopes and expects other New Zealand ports will follow POAL’s lead.
Waste-to-energy showcase for reluctant New Zealand dairy sector
A 1,100-cow dairy in southern California became the first-ever operation in the world known to produce no-sulfur renewable diesel products from manure on a livestock facility in late April.
The milestone is the culmination of three years of collaboration between Scott Brothers Dairy in San Jacinto, California, and Ag Waste Solutions (AWS), a privately held company that designed the farm’s manure processing system.
“To make it to the top of the hill is a euphoric moment,” dairyman Bruce Scott says.
Steve McCorkle, founder and CEO of AWS, announced the partnership’s achievement on Facebook on April 27, 2015. The company claims its technology is the “future of sustainable farming.”
“We have proven that we can complete the circle of energy for individual farms while creating profit centers from manure, enabling farmers to exceed regulatory requirements and truly control their own destiny,” McCorkle said in a statement.
Scott says he is most proud to have produced a “deliverable” for the California Energy Commission, which helped fund the project. As far as he understands, the commission has no other no-sulfur diesel projects dealing with this type of waste stream, so he is pleased to have “crossed the finish line” by submitting a final report. The next step for the system is to prove it can operate continuously and thus be a commercially viable option for other agricultural operations.
“I didn’t expect to win over favor on this project quickly. But I’ve firmly believed in the direction of this project,” Scott says. “The tunnel may have gotten longer, but the light at the end of it has always stayed visible in my mind. I still believe it’s the most viable technology to get rid of a waste stream and produce something that’s value-added at the same time.”
Processing manure into renewable diesel products is just one of the system’s manure processing capabilities.
The dairy’s multi-stage system first separates high-BTU manure solids from the dairy’s liquid manure effluent. McCorkle says the first stage removes 98 percent of the total suspended solids and 40 percent of the dissolved solids, making good irrigation water for most farms.
The extracted water is further purified at Scott Brothers Dairy to remove the other 2 percent of suspended solids and the remaining dissolved solids, making the water potable. (This step was to satisfy manure application requirements that were specific to the dairy’s regional regulatory agency. See this Progressive Dairyman Feb. 7, 2014 article for more background about dairy’s unique permitting situation.)
The dairy’s manure solids are then fed to a pyrolysis gasifier. The gas production module then thermochemically decomposes the manure solids in the absence of air to produce syngas. The gas is then scrubbed of impurities and compressed for storage.
Using a Fischer-Tropsch process, the hydrogen and carbon in the gas is then converted in the system’s final stage into no-sulfur renewable diesel products. The Fischer-Tropsch process had been used to convert other feedstocks to renewable diesel but until recently was never proven to work with manure, let alone on a farm.
Perhaps more importantly than producing diesel, the process also produces a refined wax product in a controllable diesel-to-wax ratio. McCorkle says the wax product’s market value is three times that of the renewable diesel and can be further processed or blended off-site with other petroleum products, such as jet fuel or kerosene.
“We exceeded our own expectations on the first pass,” McCorkle says. “We were able to control the types and factions of liquids and waxes created. And we were able to attain the optimal ratio of liquids and waxes. This satisfies our business model of making enough diesel fuel for farm use and selling the wax products off-farm to create additional profit centers from manure.”
The system on Scott Brothers Dairy that produces renewable diesel products was built at pilot-project scale, meaning it is not commercially sized nor automated enough in order to operate 24-7 with minimal manpower.If the dairy had an adequately sized liquid fuels production module that ran continuously, it could produce at least 1 gallon of diesel fuel from three cows’ manure for a day. Right now the system can convert only one-eighth of the dairy’s gasified manure per day and has not yet been automated to run continuously.
The first production run of renewable diesel products was evaluated in an on-site lab as well as sent to an external lab for validation.. Future production runs will be tested to validate the fuel is consistently comparable, or superior, to other diesel fuels. Initial tests have shown the fuel has very similar characteristics to pump diesel but without detectable levels of sulfur. Even ultra low-sulfur pump diesel contains up to 15 ppm of sulfur.
When asked if it passed the sniff test and whether he would put it in his own tractor, Scott says: “No question about it.”
McCorkle suggests the next steps toward a commercially viable, 24-7 system require more funding to upsize the liquid fuels production module in order to match the size of the rest of the system and to demonstrate that the system can run continuously and more automatically with predictable results and with minimal personnel.
McCorkle is optimistic both goals can be achieved. For now, his countenance glows over the petrochemical milestone he and the dairy have achieved almost entirely by themselves.
“We didn’t achieve these results in a large, complex refinery with tens of engineers, chemists and scientists. We achieved these results with only a handful of people working in a remote farm environment,” McCorkle says.