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Landfill Gas to QEII Project qualifies for Government carbon credits

1 April 2005

A Christchurch City Council plan to gather methane from its soon-to-be-closed landfill in north-east Christchurch and pipe it to the sport and leisure center at QEII Park for use as an energy source is included in the coming year’s annual plan.

The scheme, if approved in coming months, will cut the amount of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere and today the Government announced that it qualifies for 200,000 carbon credits. The international trade in these credits is in its early days but the Government estimates that at current prices, the credits would sell for about $15 each.

Councillor Sally Buck, who is representing the Council in its work with the Communities for Climate Protection programme, says the CCC has a strong record in energy saving and lowering its dependence on non-renewable energy.

“We applied for credits on this scheme in November last year and I’m very pleased they’ve been granted,” Cr Buck says. “The support we’re getting from the Government’s carbon credits scheme helps make the Burwood-QEII project a real winner and I think it’s an example other councils can follow.

“As well as saving on energy costs, there are significant environmental benefits. It’s making use of landfill gas – methane – which is a powerful greenhouse gas and it’s replacing LPG, which is a fossil fuel and which also does harm, by producing CO2 emissions.”

At present the QEII facility uses liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as the main source of heating energy. Last year, more than 1.5 million litres of this fuel was used at a cost of about $550,000. If the scheme is approved, that LPG will be replaced with gas piped about 4km from the landfill. As well, the proposal includes installing a co-generation plant at QEII to produce electricity and heat, resulting in additional savings in electricity of about $150,000 a year.

The proposed project is, therefore, a renewable energy development. It would contribute to greater city sustainability and improve the city’s ability to cope with an energy crises.

Cr Buck says one of the key aims of Communities for Climate Protection is for local governments around the world to lead their communities in making significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

“There’s many ways councils such as Christchurch can make a positive difference - areas such as waste management, sustainable transport, urban design, energy efficiency and sustainable land-use planning,” she says. “Since 1994, our council has been implementing a diverse range of energy efficiency projects and has already achieved a 21 per cent reduction in energy use.

At a meeting on 17 March to approve its draft annual plan for 2005/06, the City Councillors heard from staff that in order to undertake this project, $3 million of capital expenditure would be needed in the next year (from 1 July 2005), and that this additional spending would have a rating impact of 0.16 percentage points.

With the development of a new Canterbury regional landfill, the facility in the north-east of Christchurch will close at the end of May. Along with construction of the gas-collection system, final covering and landscaping will take place over the next few years.

● The Project to Reduce Emissions and the awarding of emissions units, or “carbon credits”, is explained in detail on the NZ Climate Change Office website

● For information about the Communities for Climate Protection programme

● Christchurch City Council’s draft annual plan for 2005/06 will be published on 11 April and open for public submissions from then until 12 May. Copies will be available at all CCC offices and libraries and on the website

● More general information about climate change is supplied by the New Zealand Climate Change Office at the Ministry for the Environment

● The QEII complex was built for the 1974 Commonwealth Games. Today it is a destination for people from all over the South Island. This financial year the complex is on track to do 1.7 million visits and, with the opening of five new waterslides in mid-year, expects to attract more than 2m customer visits in 2005/06.


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