Being smart about energy savings milks the benefits

A company making significant energy, carbon and cash savings shows what smart businesses can achieve through energy efficiency, Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority (EECA) Business Account Director South Paul Bull says.

Mr Bull accompanied Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges on a visit to Westland Milk Products on the West Coast today. Westland has been working with EECA since May 2015 on an energy management partnership to drive energy and carbon savings.

“This company has demonstrated a real commitment to getting its energy use down and cutting back on fossil fuel use,” Mr Bull said.

“Westland Milk Products is a great example of a smart business getting wins through an energy management programme.”

An example of efficiencies Westland has made is a recent upgrade of an air heating dryer at its Hokitika plant. A recent report into the project shows its success.

“Energy use efficiencies identified in the heat dryer project will save Westland more than $24,000 per year and reduce carbon emissions by 380 tonnes a year,” Mr Bull said.

“The company will reap more benefits in the months and years to come after developing a plan with EECA to work towards achieving energy savings of 5 gigawatt hours, with half from electricity usage and half from coal consumption.”

In two years’ time, Westland aims to be saving some $250,000 each year from its energy management, with an annual carbon reduction of 830 tonnes.

“Westland has committed long-term to reducing its energy use, with benefits of improved productivity and competitiveness,” Mr Bull said.

“It makes sense in terms of productivity and competitiveness to do this; the company has given itself a competitive advantage by taking action on energy efficiency.”

Mr Bridges and Mr Bull also visited meat processor ANZCO Foods Kokiri as part of the West Coast visit. ANZCO won the energy management category of the 2016 EECA Awards and was highly commended in the large energy user category for reaching its ambitious target of 36 GWh in annual energy savings nearly two years ahead of schedule.

EECA also engages with the wider agri-business sector through partnerships with large milk and meat processors.

Background facts:

Westland is an independent co-operative dairy company owned by more than 425 farmer shareholders on the West Coast and Canterbury. It is New Zealand’s second biggest dairy co-operative after Fonterra. The company produces milk powder-based bulk commodities and is increasingly moving into value-added nutritional products such as infant formula. More than 80% of its products are exported.

Energy consumption is Westland’s third largest cost when producing its products so looks at all options to try and reduce consumption. The coal purchased locally is of high quality and is converted into steam which then is used to dry a different range of milk products. The coal blend is chosen to get optimal energy conversion to minimise usage. Westland is looking at other opportunities to reduce consumption plus recover energy with the support from EECA.

Media enquiries:

Maggie Tait, Senior Communications Advisor, EECA

Phone: 04 470 2212 or 027 204 7439

Email: maggie.tait@eeca.govt.nz