Industry leaders drive low carbon future

Bay of Plenty industry leaders have taken an important step towards making the region’s decarbonised future a reality, coming together to explore how they can better collaborate to reach their low carbon goals.

Iwi and business leaders representing a wide cross-section of industries, from forestry and energy to property development and local government, met at Te Puia in Rotorua this week for a workshop introducing the Regional Energy Transition Accelerator (RETA) programme.

Hosted by Bay of Connections and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), the workshop provided an overview of the RETA programme, the Government investment support available for businesses wanting to progress decarbonisation and – importantly – gave attendees a chance to share their low carbon transition journeys.

The RETA programme is a new initiative designed to help regions understand what is needed to decarbonise process heat use; the energy used by industrial and commercial sectors for industrial processes, manufacturing, and warming spaces.

It aims to develop a co-ordinated approach for regional decarbonisation by understanding the specific opportunities and barriers in the wider Bay of Plenty, including Eastern Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Taupō and Western Bay of Plenty.

It is a two-stage programme, with the initial planning stage resulting in a comprehensive report outlining the findings and pathways for implementation.

This work builds on EECA’s Energy Transition Accelerator (ETA) programme and recent North Island Process Heat Database work, and provides a significant opportunity for the wider Bay of Plenty to be leaders in decarbonisation.

There are currently six RETA programmes being rolled out across the country.

Initial RETA reports reinforce that greater sharing of cross-sector information is crucial to ensuring business and industry have all the puzzle pieces to successfully embark on making the low-carbon transition, and so that those with the energy resources – such as biomass, electricity and geothermal energy – can confidently invest in supply side infrastructure to support those businesses.

This was further reinforced by kōrero from Bay of Plenty businesses that are on a decarbonisation journey and keen to learn more about alternative energy sources and how to access them.

Potential biomass suppliers echoed this sentiment, wanting a better understanding of what the total demand may be for biomass, and what is required to make the energy source more readily available.

Major energy generators talked about how they could support local businesses to lower their carbon footprint, not only in electrifying existing fossil-fuelled operations, but also through EV charging networks, solar, and energy solutions for process heat.

Several iwi leaders from across the rohe reiterated the need for genuine engagement and partnership with Māori as much of the geothermal resource sits on Māori freehold land. Equally, they expressed a desire to explore how iwi entities can also decarbonise, while still delivering better outcomes for whānau.

The workshop provided a valuable starting point for EECA to progress its six workstreams in the RETA programme from a Bay of Plenty point of view, which will culminate in a comprehensive report outlining the findings and how the region can move forward.

The six RETA workstreams are:

  • Regional process heat demand assessment, including process heat demand and demand characteristics, process heat emission reduction opportunities, and demand load profiles and characteristics
  • Electricity availability assessment
  • Biomass availability assessment
  • Biomass cost forecast/electricity cost/price forecast
  • Bay of Plenty-specific opportunities (e.g. organic waste to energy, geothermal)
  • Regional decarbonisation pathway

Find out more about the RETA programme here.

To keep up to date with progress on the Bay of Plenty RETA please sign up to our e-pānui.

If you are interested in learning more about making a transition to a lower-carbon operation, and/or potentially contributing to the required energy resources, please contact EECA:

Kanchana Marasinghe, Energy Transition Programme Manager