EECA announced today that Open Country Dairy will receive co-investment from the first round of the $69m Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry (GIDI) Fund to convert two of its coal boilers to use wood pellets and wood chips at its Waharoa site in the Waikato.

This follows an announcement by Minister of Energy and Resources Dr Megan Woods, in April, of the initial 14 GIDI projects.

Altogether, the 16 projects will receive a combined total of $27.79 million in government co-funding, matched by an additional $30.24 million from the applicants.

They will deliver 185,000 tonnes CO2e in annual emissions reduction, or 3.8 million tonnes CO2e over their lifetimes — the equivalent of taking 62,500 cars off the road.

EECA CEO Andrew Caseley said EECA has been working with Open Country since 2019, providing advice and support on energy-related projects. Open Country had previously received $200,000 in funding from EECA's Technology Demonstration Fund(external link) to support the installation of an electrode boiler.

They have also begun an Energy Transition Accelerator(external link) (ETA) with EECA, a plan that identifies ways businesses can reduce their energy-related emissions and save on energy costs, both short-term and long-term.

Mr Caseley said, "The GIDI projects represent deep cuts to Open Country Dairy's emissions, prove the case for fuel-switching towards renewables, have flow-on benefits of better air quality in the region, and help position them in their export markets."

Industrial process heat accounts for about a third of New Zealand's energy use, and 60% of process heat is still fossil-fueled. Mr. Caseley said, "This first round of GIDI projects gives us a flying start to decarbonising the process heat sector in line with the first of the Climate Change Commission's draft budgets."

About the projects

  • Boiler 1 conversion at Waharoa ($1,735,750 co-funding): Open Country Dairy will convert an existing coal fired steam boiler to wood pellets and chips. Converting the 11 MW steam boiler will save 226,340 tonnes of CO2e over the project's lifetime.
  • Boiler 2 conversion and efficiency improvement at Waharoa ($3,264,250 co-funding): The second project will convert another existing coal fired steam boiler to wood pellets and chips and install a Reverse Osmosis boiler feed water treatment plant that will reduce steam wasted from purging water impurities. This will save 594,500 tonnes of CO2e over the project's lifetime.

About the GIDI Fund

  • The GIDI Fund is a partnership between Government and business to accelerate the decarbonisation of industrial process heat and contribute to the COVID-19 recovery by stimulating the domestic economy and supporting employment.
  • EECA administers the GIDI Fund on behalf of the Government through a contestable process that will see $69M of capital grants co-investment made available to support good projects.
  • The Fund is available to New Zealand-based private sector businesses who have committed to decarbonising their business and industrial processes, where Government co-investment will help remove barriers to accelerating their decarbonisation goals.

Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry (GIDI) Fund(external link)