South Taranaki-based medicinal cannabis company Greenfern Industries has begun generating its own electricity to run its indoor growing operation.
The company’s hydroelectric power station on the Waingongoro River in Taranaki got approval last week from the Taranaki Regional Council to begin generating power again, after an extensive upgrade, managing director Dan Casey said.
In a statement, he said creating its own power meant significant savings for the business as well as being more sustainable.
“More than 60 per cent of our operational expense can be attributed to electricity so being able to scale to meet demand is a significant advantage.
“While we’re excited about being able to produce high quality medicinal cannabis products at a more competitive price point, we’re also incredibly proud of being able to grow our medicinal plants in a more environmentally-friendly way.”
Greenfern bought the power station in December last year following a successful crowdfunding campaign.
The weir-dam and power station were first commissioned in 1903 and was initially used to supply power to surrounding towns Hāwera, Manaia and Eltham. It has been rebuilt twice since its inauguration.
When Greenfern took ownership of the power station, it was not compliant. Last week, it passed the final inspection of items that were historically in breach of resource consent conditions held by the station’s previous owner.
“We’ve invested heavily in upgrading and modifying power station infrastructure and the technology that monitors the water intake and output,” Casey said.
He said the company won’t need to use all the power the station generates so would sell the excess back to the national grid.
“It’s looking like it will be a dry winter in the South Island with record power demand, and with spot prices at record levels at the moment, this is another revenue stream for Greenfern.”
The company was also considering whether it may further upgrade the power station’s generation capacity, which would mean higher power output through a larger and more efficient turbine.