Economic benefits of wood energy
Wood energy has the potential to provide a wide range of economic benefits for some organisations.
Companies and organisations are coming under increasing scrutiny as New Zealanders become increasingly environmentally and socially conscious. This scrutiny can affect a potential customer or investor decision. For instance, international pressure on export markets has led to the establishment of the greenhouse gas footprinting programme which provides customers with information on the environmental impact of a particular product.
Wood energy provides an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels, so the use of wood energy can demonstrate a commitment to the environment and, therefore, enhance an organisation’s brand and reputation and contribute to customer satisfaction.
The wood residue which results as a by-product of log felling and timber processing are often seen as having little or no value or as a business cost due to treatment or waste management requirements. By taking steps to use this residue as a source of energy, companies can reduce their waste and benefit from the use of a cheap form of energy. Unwanted residue also has the potential to be collected and sold to others, creating further economic benefits.
If wood energy is produced and used to create energy within New Zealand, it reduces our need to import other fuels to fill our energy requirements. Therefore, the use of wood energy adds to New Zealand’s ability to be energy self sufficient and provides economic benefits to the country as a whole.
Wood energy can offer a cost effective alternative to fossil fuels (such as coal, oil and gas) for some organisations. This is especially true if wood residue is collected and used on-site. As the costs of fossil fuels rise, cost savings will increase for all wood energy users.
Wood energy can be easily stored for future use compared to other forms of renewable energy like wind, wave and solar energy. It can also be relatively easily transported for use in other locations. Because of these qualities, wood energy can be used as a buffer for organisations using other forms of renewable energy in case of supply difficulties.