NEW ZEALAND – Fonterra, New Zealand’s dairy cooperative, has announced a significant US$36 million investment in a 20-megawatt electrode boiler at its Edendale site, marking a crucial step in its ongoing transition away from coal.

The move is part of Fonterra’s commitment to eliminate coal usage by 2037 and achieve a 50% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030.

This investment is expected to slash emissions at the Edendale facility by approximately 20%, equivalent to 47,500 tonnes of CO2e per year.

Once operational in the fiscal year 2025, the electrode boiler will contribute to an overall reduction of nearly 3% per annum in Fonterra’s carbon emissions from its 2018 baseline.

Anna Palairet, Fonterra’s acting chief operating officer, emphasized the importance of continually assessing energy sources and technologies for each site as the cooperative’s manufacturing operation spans the country.

With a massive daily processing capacity of up to 15 million litres of milk at the Edendale site, securing a reliable energy supply is essential.

 “Getting out of coal requires significant investment, and we need to choose the best option that reduces emissions and operational complexity while also doing what’s best for our farmer shareholders,” Palairet stated highlighting the cost considerations associated with moving away from coal.

Fonterra is partnering with Meridian Energy, a hydroelectric power generation company, to source electricity from 100% renewable resources, including wind, water, and solar energy.

Meridian Energy’s CEO, Neal Barclay, praised Fonterra for its commitment, stating, “Partnerships like these are critical to helping this country meet the target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

The electrode boiler investment is part of Fonterra’s broader strategy, co-funded through a partnership with the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA).

The cooperative aims to achieve approximately 2.1 million tonnes of earlier CO2e reductions through various decarbonization projects at its manufacturing sites.

Fonterra expects to further reduce emissions through a combination of energy efficiency initiatives and fuel switching at six manufacturing sites that will still be using coal in 2024.

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