Distributed Generation feasibility studies
The Distributed Generation (DG) Fund was established by EECA in 2008/09 to kick-start activity and development of small-scale renewable electricity projects in New Zealand.
The aim of the Fund was to facilitate, through providing grants for feasibility studies, DG projects that were close to being commercially viable and that were proposed and implemented by non-traditional generators.
While further grants are no longer being provided by EECA, the feasibility studies that were funded are available below.
Some of the objectives of the fund were:
- Address an information barrier
Potential developers sometimes find it difficult to identify suitable project opportunities, or verify that a project is likely to be commercially viable
- Facilitate and test the distributed generation market
To demonstrate potential niches for economic, or close-to-economic distributed generation projects in New Zealand
Improve understanding of barriers to distributed generation
DG Fund feasibility studies
Binary Cycle Generator
(Ref: 1.70.2) This project developed by Watercare Services Ltd investigated the use of a 250kW binary cycle generator to capture and use waste heat that was otherwise sent into the atmosphere in the flue gases from the existing biogas cogeneration engines at the Mangere Wastewater Treatment Plant in Auckland. Read the report
Blackball Creek Hydro
(Ref: 1.28.1) Keane Associates and the Blackball Residents' Association Trust investigated the viability of building a 1.5MW hydro project as an affordable means of empowering the Blackball community on the West Coast. The concept was that the scheme would utilise the historical works associated with an existing water race used for gold sluicing more than 100 years ago. Read the report.
Blueskin Power Co-operative Wind Project
(Ref: 2.32) The project, undertaken by the Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust based in Waitati, north of Dunedin, looked at the concept of a single community owned and managed 500kW turbine that would help to meet the local community's electricity needs. During the course of the investigation, the study considered three types of turbine including the NEG Micon (750kW), a Vestas V52 (850kW), and the locally manufactured WindFlow 500 (500kW). Read the report.
Central Otago Hydro Electric Development
(Ref: 2.22) JG Wilson Hire Ltd investigated multi-megawatt sized run-of-river hydro electric schemes on a river in Central Otago. Four separate layout options were investigated, from which two separate scheme layout alternatives were investigated more thoroughly. Read the report.
Duelling Banjos Vineyard Wind Generation Project
(Ref: 1.32.1) Energy3 Ltd and Duelling Banjos Ltd looked into the viability of installing a small-scale (2.4MW) distributed wind farm on a vineyard in the Marlborough region. The landowners will be the co-developers of the project, and power from the wind turbines would be used onsite and also for sale into 33kV Marlborough Lines distribution network. Read the report.
Fonterra enhanced geothermal system
(Ref: 1.70.2) Fonterra's Waitoa milk processing plant in the Waikato is currently supplied with process heat by three coal boilers, and with electricity primarily from the grid. This study assessed the potential for an enhanced geothermal project whereby heat can be extracted from hot deep rock structures to meet the site's heat demand and also generate around 8MW of electricity. Read the report.
Grid-integrated biogas generator
(Ref: 1.49.1) The study, commissioned by Wel Networks Ltd, investigated a 30kW electricity generation scheme on the biogas produced from the manure of a 400 sow "farrow-to-finish" pig breeding and rearing facility in Taranaki. Ongoing community concerns regarding odour emissions have prompted the owner to decide to integrate an anaerobic treatment step to the existing waste management system. Read the report.
Hampton Downs Landfill Waste Heat to Energy Project
(Ref: 2.25) EnviroWaste Services investigated a project that would comprise waste heat recovery equipment being fitted to existing landfill gas engines at the Hampton Downs landfill in the Waikato, and an additional packaged burner unit being fitted to combust the landfill gas which is surplus to the gas engine demand. Recovered heat would be conveyed to 1MW Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) generator and electricity would be fed into the Counties Power network. Read the report.
Haycock Station Wind Farm
(Ref: 2.8) Independent developer and generator Energy3 looked at the viability of a small wind farm that used four second-hand and reconditioned Nordtank 500 turbines, giving a total installed capacity of 2MW. Haycock Station in Southland is owned by Landcorp Farming. The property is currently operated as a mixed beef, sheep and deer farm. Read the report.
Landcorp Wingpoint Dairy Biogas
(Ref: 2.12) This investigation, completed by Wel Networks Ltd and Natural Systems Ltd, examines the application of two types of biogas heat and electricity cogeneration technologies considered at Landcorp Farming Ltd’s Wingpoint dairy unit in the Wairarapa. Read the report.
Lower Te Awainanga Mini Hydro
(Ref: 1.7.1)The project, undertaken by Chatham Islands Electricity Ltd, assessed the viability of a 55kW hydro scheme that would contribute to the Islands' vision of a sustainable electricity generation options to augment or replace existing network distributed diesel generation. The cost of electricity on the Chatham Islands is much higher than on mainland New Zealand. Read the report.
Maruia Falls Power Station
(Ref: 2.2) Renewable Power Ltd investigated the viability of redeveloping the Maruia Falls Power Station, near Murchison in the Tasman district. The scheme originally generated electricity from the 1950s until the 1980s when it was decommissioned. This study evaluated the possibility of using the original structure and re-commissioning the station as a run of river scheme able to generate around 3GWh p.a. Read the report.
Micro-hydro as Pressure Reducer
(Ref: 1.52.1) The Greater Wellington Regional Council investigated the potential for an innovative micro-hydro system to be installed, in place of valves, in the water distribution network to reduce pressure and control water flow into the Porirua reservoir. Most of the energy that would otherwise dissipate can potentially be recovered through these micro-hydro generators that could have an output of around 32kW. Read the report.
Ngapuna geothermal power plant
(Ref: 2.7) This study considered the feasibility and economics of electricity generation from the geothermal resources available at Ngapuna, in the vicinity of the wastewater treatment plant in Rotorua. The project is intended to be implemented as a joint venture between the Pukeroa OruawhataTrust and the Rotorua District Council (RDC), and could generate around 1MW of electricity to be used onsite with excess sold. Read the report.
On-site hydro power generation at Maungapohatu Marae
(Ref: 2:12) Maungapohatu is a very remote Maori community Te Urerewa National Park. There is no reticulated electricity supply and the distance to the grid is too far for grid connection to be feasible. In this report the Te Mapoupa Papakainga Trust considers the use of hydro electric power to lower electricity costs to the community by reducing diesel consumption for electricity generation. Read the report.
(Ref: 1:34:1) The Taihape Community Development Trust investigated the viability of re-commissioning an abandoned hydro station on the outskirts of the town. The existing dam, tunnel, and headworks of the hydro plant were last used in 1958, and if they can be re-commissioned, with an output of around 1MW, the upfront costs of the project could be greatly reduced. Read the report.
The Vernon Ridge Windfarm
(Ref: 1.60.1) This project, undertaken by the Balfour Partnership, investigated the practical and commercial feasibility of a small wind project in the Marlborough region. A partnership of landowners has been established to help develop the project that could have an output of up to 10MW. Read the report.
Waianakarua Wind Farm Project
(Ref: 1.9.1) This study by Network Waitaki looked at wind options in the Waianakarua area in Otago that would potentially defer planned investment into the Hampden substation and the adjacent 11kV network. The communities that the project would immediately service are at the end of a 'spur' line in the local electricity network. Read the report.
Waiau Wind Farm
(Ref: 1.61.1) MainPower Ltd investigated the viability of a small wind farm based in North Canterbury using imported second-hand turbines and connected to the network at Mouse Point. The 5MW project could help meet the electricity demand load in the region. Read the report.
Waikite Small Geothermal binary plant
(Ref: 1.70.1) The Waikite Valley Thermal Pools in the Waikato were established in 1972, and the purpose of this study by East Harbour Energy Ltd was to see if the new lower cost United Technologies (UTC) binary cycle units, with an output of around 219kW, offered an opportunity to economically generate electricity from low-temperature geothermal resources where the cost of supplying the hot geothermal water to the plant was minimal. Read the report.
Waione Falls Micro Hydro Project
(Ref: 2.31) The Haven Trust owns a farm at Tauranga that is bordered on one side by the Te Puna stream with a series of falls in the reach along the farm boundary. This report evaluates the technical and commercial feasibility of building a 15kW hydro generation plant on one of these falls to supply the farm's requirements with surplus generation injected in to the local network. Read the report.
Wairua River Mini Hydro
(Ref: 2:18) The purpose of this study was to examine the potential for a mini hydro scheme on the Wairua river, northwest of Whangarei. The site is adjacent to a family dairy farm and could therefore bring the benefit of supplying power to the landowner's property as well as avoiding the high cost of distribution of power to the Northland region. Read the report.