Taking the climate heat out of process heat

30 July 2019

The emergence of clean, efficient and economically viable electric technology for industrial process heat will help the country meet its climate change commitments, says Transpower.

The national grid owner and operator today released its report Taking the climate heat out of process heat, highlighting the opportunities and challenges of replacing fossil fuels with renewable electricity for process heat.

The document follows on from last year’s Te Mauri Hiko - Energy Futures analysis and subsequent papers on both solar and wind contributions to New Zealand’s energy future.

“Many people will be surprised as to how significant process heat applications are to New Zealand’s overall carbon emissions profile,” Transpower chief executive Alison Andrew said.

“It makes up over a quarter of New Zealand’s energy-related emissions. Emissions from process heat have also increased by about 45 percent between 1990 and 2016.”

 “Te Mauri Hiko identified increasing electrification of the transport fleet and industrial heat processes will represent the best use of available energy resources and emerging low-cost energy technologies.  Improving energy efficiency and increasing electrification of the process heat sector is key to enabling the decarbonisation of New Zealand’s economy,” she said.

The report shows new technologies offer credible alternatives to fossil fuels and significant and important carbon emissions reductions, providing more options for businesses wishing to pursue a cleaner, climate-friendly future.

“The report addresses some of the misconceptions that have built up about the economic viability of converting existing coal or gas fired heat processing plant to electricity,” Ms Andrew said.

There are critical issues, however, to consider so the opportunities of electrification can be realised, including the need for collaborative network planning to ensure there is sufficient capacity to meet increasing demand.

“We need to work together to build a clear, common context and a vision for the future,” Ms Andrew said.

“This paper seeks to stimulate discussion and debate about the opportunities to transform our economy through our energy choices.”

The report was developed with the support of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority. Transpower also worked with Powerco to deliver the case study on the Eastern Waikato electrification of process heat applications.

The report is available here https://www.transpower.co.nz/resources/taking-climate-heat-out-process-heat.

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