NZ Steel partners with gov’t in $300m decarbonisation plan

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Steel manufacturer New Zealand Steel is set to build a new $300 million (AUD 283 million) Electric Arc Furnace at its steelworks at Glenbrook within the next three years as part of the move to lower NZ’s greenhouse gas emissions.

In a media release, NZ Steel Chief Executive Robin Davies revealed the large expenditure will immediately lower Glenbrook’s carbon impact by 800,000 tonnes, the equivalent of permanently removing about 300,000 automobiles from the road.

Davies underscored that over 45 per cent of New Zealand Steel’s emissions, or one per cent of all emissions produced in New Zealand annually, have been reduced.

It also lays the groundwork for additional carbon emission cuts and represents a significant step towards our objective of reaching net zero by 2050, according to the company official. 

“These reductions will come from replacing Glenbrook’s existing oxygen steelmaking furnace and two of the four coal-fuelled kilns,” Davies remarked. 

Meanwhile, Davies stated this effort requires a steady supply of firmed renewable energy, thus, he said the company is “delighted by the pioneering and creative partnership with Contact Energy to provide a competitive and innovative supply agreement.”

The NZ Steel official added that the company has a lot more production flexibility because of the electric arc furnace, which enables them to cut back on output when there is a spike in demand or a shortage of raw materials.

To reduce Glenbrook’s carbon footprint, Davies claims that New Zealand Steel and the Government will jointly invest $300M in total capital and transition expenditures.

The government will co-invest up to $140 million through the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry, or GIDI fund, managed by EECA, and New Zealand Steel will invest an additional $160 million, including the Glenbrook investment that is slated to support New Zealand’s steel industry in the future.

“From our perspective, this is a necessary step to secure steelmaking in New Zealand for many years to come. I’m delighted to say this is a great example of business and Government working together to meet the country’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050,” noted Davies.

Mark Vassella, managing director and CEO of New Zealand Steel’s parent company, BlueScope, stated New Zealand Steel and the government should be extremely proud of their initiative and the hard work that has resulted in the recent announcement.