Geo-thermal paper mill improves green story

THE switch has been flicked on a new $NZ300 million geothermal power station at Norske Skog’s New Zealand paper mill, further improving the green credentials of the newspaper industry. Owned and operated by Mighty River Power, the power station makes the Tasman mill, in the Bay of Plenty, unique, with all the steam needed to produce pulp and then dry the paper coming from geothermal power.

Producing 85 percent of the mill’s power needs, the new station reduces the mill’s dependency on the New Zealand power grid and is a further step in Norske Skog achieving its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020.

Norske Skog Sales, Marketing and Logistics vice-president Andrew Leighton said the project was the biggest of its type in New Zealand for 20 years.

The plant’s output significantly increased New Zealand’s national generation capacity, alleviating the pressure on the existing national grid, Mr Leighton said. Local power authorities would now get back one-third of residential and industrial power demand in the Eastern Bay of Plenty region – enough to power an extra 90,000 homes.

The plant, located in the Kawerau geothermal field, is considered world class and capable of sustaining further development, Norske Skog said in a statement.

The Kawerau steam field also supplies steam for industrial use and some small-scale generation. It will be opened officially next month. Full coverage of the opening and the technologies underpinning production of newsprint used for Pacific newspapers and magazines will be featured in the next issue of The PANPA Bulletin.

Norske Skog is the world’s leading supplier of paper for newspapers and magazines with 18 mills around the world. Three of those are located in Australia (Albury, NSW, and Bowyer, Tasmania) and New Zealand. It employs 270 staff in Albury and 430 each at Boyer and the Bay of Plenty. It has major paper contracts with News Ltd, Fairfax Media and APN.

*Disclosure: PANPA uses Norstar80 paper from Norske Skog for its print publication; and Norske Skog is a major supporter of the industry association

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