Fonterra to go coal-free at Te Awamutu site

New Zealand dairy cooperative Fonterra’s Te Awamutu site is to stop using coal as a fuel to process milk. At the start of its 2020/21 season, the site’s boiler will be powered by wood pellets.

“The move to wood pellets at Te Awamutu will save the co-operative about 84,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year, that’s the equivalent of taking around 32,000 cars off the road and will reduce Fonterra’s national coal consumption by approximately 10 per cent,” said Linda Thompson, sustainable energy and utility manager at Fonterra. “It’s a positive step forward as we look to reduce emissions and work towards net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

Fonterra’s Te Awamutu site is one of three North Island sites that are currently using coal. “There is no one single solution for us to transition out of coal,” added Thompson. “We know we can’t do it alone, that’s why working with others like wood pellet supplier Nature’s Flame and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority is so important.”

Nature’s Flame will be supplying the pellets made from sustainable wood fibre residues from the surrounding areas.