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Waipa Sawmill co-generation case study

Research and reports
18 July 2007

The Waipa sawmill near Rotorua has been generating its own electricity for over 50 years, cutting its costs and returning power to the national grid.
A large sawmill produces a lot of sawdust, bark and off-cuts. At Waipa, these byproducts provide fuel for a ‘cogenerator' that produces heat for timber processing, as well as extra electricity that is sold to TrustPower.  In a typical month, the sawmill spends about $40,000 on electricity but also generates and sells $20,000 worth - essentially halving its power bill. Chief Financial Officer Paul Laing of Red Stag, the company that owns the sawmill, says the electricity savings could be as much as $1 million a year. While the cogeneration plant's main purpose is to reduce the sawmill's power bill, there are plans to enable it to sell 100% of the electricity generated on days when the sawmill is closed.

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