The new regulations
The Government (Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment) has released a new National Policy Statement (NPS) and National Environmental Standard (NES) on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions from Industrial Process Heat. This came into force on 27 of July 2023.
The new policy and regulations require councils to factor in GHG emissions produced by fossil fuels used for industrial process heat when assessing resource consent applications.
A key tool in reducing New Zealand’s energy related emissions – the policy and regulations will help manage the discharge to air of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels used in industrial process heat, thereby reducing their harmful effect on climate change.
A focus on industrial process heat
Process heat is energy used in the form of heat, specifically in industrial and manufacturing processes. In New Zealand, it’s used widely in manufacturing - for example, turning wood into pulp and paper, processing milk into powder, or sanitising equipment.
Process heat makes up around a third of our overall energy use and contributes approximately 8% of gross emissions. This is a priority area for emissions reduction in New Zealand, as over half of the energy used is supplied using fossil fuels, mainly gas and coal.
These policy and regulation will affect industries that use fossil fuels in heat devices such as boilers, furnaces, engines, or other combustion devices to generate industrial process heat, that produce greenhouse gas emissions. However, they do not apply to emissions from non-fossil fuels used in industrial processes, electricity generation, back-up devices that are used for less than 400 hours per year, or Industries using fossil fuel-fired heat devices to heat space and water heating in commercial buildings.
EECA will soon publish non-statutory guidance to help regional councils with understanding key requirements of the NES and NPS, including Emissions Plans and Best Available Techniques.
The purpose of this guidance is primarily to help councils navigate the new regulations, ensure they are able to implement them in their region and provide the required approach to preparing and assessing an emissions plan. However, this guidance may also be useful to industry, especially consultants who have been hired to help with emissions plans and consent applications.
This guidance will be undergoing road testing, and a final version will be published once that process is complete.
Suitably Qualified Person
Emissions plans will need to be reviewed by a Suitably Qualified Person for high-emissions sites that emit more than 2,000 tonnes of CO2-e of total thermal demand per annum.
Ministry for the Environment has published information on who is a suitably qualified person.
The role of the new policy and regulations
The new NES and NPS will support the transition of existing fossil fuelled industrial process heat equipment to low-emission alternatives by providing a consistent framework for regional councils when assessing ‘discharge to air of GHG’ resource consent applications.
The NES and NPS will play an important role in achieving New Zealand’s domestic emissions budgets and our commitment to lowering emissions under the Paris Agreement.
Fact sheets on the new regulations
Ministry for the Environment has produced fact sheets that provide a summary of the requirements the National Policy Statement and National Environmental Standards for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Industrial Process Heat introduce.
The National Direction is set to reduce New Zealand’s emissions by 277,000 tCO2-e per year - that's the equivalent of taking 100,000 cars off the road.
|Ministry for the Environment and
Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
|The new National Direction has been developed by the Ministry for the Environment (MFE) and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
|Regional Councils are responsible for implementing the NES and NPS, including assessing and making decisions on individual resource consent applications.
|EECA (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority)
|EECA is publishing a suite of non-statutory guidance to help councils and industry to understand and implement the new regulations.