A powerful alliance | Otago Daily Times Online News

 A powerful alliance | Otago Daily Times Online News

The Cromwell-based charity Central Lakes Trust (CLT) came of age this year, and since its inception in 2000, has distributed more than $100 million in grants to a wide range of community projects and services throughout the central lakes area. It has $388 million in investment assets and owns a power company, Pioneer Energy, which is involved in revolutionary projects around New Zealand, from converting food waste to bioenergy, to processing forest slash for biomass fuel. It is a powerful alliance in more ways than one, as Mary-Jo Tohill reports.

Back in July, Pioneer Energy chief executive Fraser Jonker stood under the Fonterra Stirling dairy plant’s landmark chimney — all 44m of it — and the massive coal hoppers that will soon be a thing of the past.

From August next year, the South Otago cheese factory will be fired by wood biomass fuel with a much smaller chimney. The supplier: Pioneer Energy, owned by the Central Lakes Trust.

From Central Otago to the central North Island; almost a year earlier, Mr Jonker attended a Ngati Whaoa blessing at Reporoa, where Alexandra-based Pioneer Energy has partnered with Ecostock Supplies Ltd to construct New Zealand’s first large-scale food waste-to bioenergy facility, Ecogas. Work has begun on the $30million plant, which was due to be operational in February but will be delayed because of Covid-19 and a few international supply chain challenges.

It will turn 75,000 tonnes of organic waste from businesses and kerbside food…

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