Wood energy in the future
The use of wood energy and other types of bioenergy is growing in New Zealand and throughout the world as the demand for sustainable and environmentally sound fuel increases.
Alongside this growing demand is a plentiful supply of wood fuel in New Zealand with wood waste at wood processing sites alone estimated to be 4 million tonnes per year. These demand and supply factors show the potential for the wood energy industry to continue to grow in the future.
Greenhouse gas footprinting
The increasing demand for bioenergy is partly due to international pressure on export markets demanding information on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of products throughout their life-cycle. Industries can reduce their GHG footprint (i.e. carbon footprint) by converting to carbon neutral fuels such as wood over fossil fuels.
One factor which could further enhance the supply of energy generated from wood fuel is the potential for the development of small localised bioenergy power stations (i.e. distributed generation). Compared with large centralised power stations, this type of power generation could:
- Cut down on transmission losses
- Minimise the cost of reinforcing or upgrading electricity distribution systems
- Increase the reliability of supply
- Increase local employment and profits