Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Major milestone flagged for green steel project

New Zealand is on track to have greener steel as early as 2026, with New Zealand Steel’s electric arc furnace project reaching a major milestone today.  

The Government announced a conditional partnership with New Zealand Steel in May to deliver the country’s largest emissions reduction project to date. Half of the coal being used at Glenbrook steel mill is being replaced with electricity to recycle and reuse scrap steel.

A feasibility study has been completed on the viability, risk, expected costs and other outcomes and the project now has the full green light from New Zealand Steel.

“It’s an exciting step – this project will eliminate one per cent of the country’s total annual emissions and deliver huge benefits for our environment, our industry and to New Zealanders,” said Minister of Energy and Resources, Megan Woods. 

“There has been rigorous due diligence on the project, which has been a critical process before New Zealand Steel fully embarks on its journey to decarbonise its activities while maintaining onshore steel production.”

Production using the new furnace is expected to start as early as mid-2026, in line with agreed commissioning milestones.

Climate Change Minister, James Shaw says the installation of an electric arc furnace at Glenbrook means New Zealand Steel will cut its emissions by more than 45%.

The emissions reductions will be equivalent to keeping approximately 300,000 cars off the road, he said.

“Once commissioned, the completed project will reduce Glenbrook’s carbon footprint by 800,000 tonnes per annum. That means 100% of its annual steel production will be lower carbon from day one.”

“This project will mean the production of very low carbon steel by world standards – that’s a win for New Zealand,” Mr Shaw said.

The deal is being part funded with up to $140 million from the $650 million Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry (GIDI) Fund, which enables businesses of all sizes to reduce their emissions. The balance of the $300 million project will be funded directly by New Zealand Steel.

“The project getting off the ground adds real momentum in pushing fossil fuels out of the energy system and lowering emissions through renewables and energy efficiency,” Minister Woods said.

“We’ve come a long way in the last three years GIDI has been operating with 30 of the 81 process heat focused projects complete or in commissioning.

“This deal was the first in a number of bespoke opportunities that the government has been exploring, to deliberately target appropriate support for New Zealand’s largest emitters where the greatest emissions reductions can occur quickly,” she said.

A second large partnership deal was announced in July with Fonterra to cut coal use at its dairy factories and support a 50% reduction in the company’s manufacturing emissions by 2030 – increasing the existing target of 30%.

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