Benefits for Bay of Plenty

A Bay of Plenty specific decarbonisation pathway will enable:

  • a full view of biomass resource availability, the potential volumes, costs and future demand for bioenergy
  • an overview of the opportunity for geothermal resources to provide low emissions energy to process heat users
  • coordinating infrastructure and streamlining electricity demand for the future
  • best use of information sharing to encourage demand flexibility through collaboration.

About the Bay of Plenty RETA

A total of 28 sites – spanning the dairy, industrial and commercial sectors are covered by the Bay of Plenty RETA. These sites either have process heat equipment larger than 500kW or are sites for which EECA has detailed information about their decarbonisation pathway. Collectively, these sites consume 14,741TJ of process heat energy, primarily from fossil gas, and currently produce 281kt per year of CO2e emissions. RETA aims to eliminate as much of these process heat emissions as possible.

The focus of the Bay of Plenty report – the culmination of phase one of the RETA programme, is the fuel switching decision and the key role demand reduction plays in enabling fuel switching. Biomass, geothermal and electricity are considered as potential fuel sources.

RETA also recognises the importance of demand reduction and thermal efficiency measures for reducing energy consumption and right sizing the boiler investment, which in turn affects decision-making around fuel switching.

The report explains a range of decarbonisation pathways, all of which show how the combined decisions of a range of process heat users may lead to common infrastructure challenges and opportunities from a supply perspective. Across the 28 sites, there are 67 individual projects covering demand reduction, heat pumps and fuel switching. The MAC Optimal pathway sees fuel decisions that result in 6% of the energy needs in 2050 supplied by electricity, 13% by geothermal and 81% supplied by biomass.


Bay of Plenty pathways.
Source - GNS

Insights explored in the Bay of Plenty report:

  • The key role demand reduction and heat pumps play in the fuel switching decision and infrastructure investment.
  • The feasibility and potential of ‘direct use’ geothermal energy to reduce process heat fossil fuel use and emissions.
  • Timeframes for decarbonisation under different pathway scenarios, that is:

The ‘BAU’ decarbonisation pathway, which uses actual project timing or 2050 where unavailable, is the slowest decarbonisation path.

The ‘MAC’ optimal pathway suggests 24% of emission reduction projects can be cost neutral prior to 2028.

  • The role for infrastructure to play in enabling the transition to renewables and possibly bringing it forward.
  • The optimisation of infrastructure investment, capacity, and timing.
  • The significant potential of biomass as part of the local mix and the work needed to be undertaken with forest owners to understand the logistics, space and equipment needed for harvesting residues. 


Energy efficiency, demand reduction and fuel flexibility are key parts of the process for Bay of Plenty. The cheapest fuel is the fuel you don’t use.

Dr Marcos Pelenur, Chief Executive, EECA

Next steps

EECA is happy to hear from anyone wanting to support the implementation of recommendations in the Bay of Plenty RETA report.

Email or with any questions.