Going Electricity-Neutral

Electricity-Neutral Initiative

The parent company to APL Window Solutions, Profile Group, has acquired renewable energy certificates from Kawatiri Energy - one of New Zealand’s newest hydroelectricity projects which generates power from the Lake Rochfort Scheme near Westport.

Manufacturing windows and doors requires a lot of energy. And now, through this innovative certificate system, that energy can be considered renewable.

The energy used by Profile Group was a major component of their overall carbon footprint, so working towards carbon neutrality was an important goal. And, given their long standing connection to the Waikato region, the solution came from a slightly surprising location: Lake Rochfort near Westport, home to one of New Zealand’s newest hydroelectricity projects.


Diverse operations

Profile Group’s diverse operations through its aluminium extrusion plant, window solutions design and manufacturing, surface finishing and glass factory consume significant power and the group was determined to achieve carbon neutrality for this energy use.

The company represents a family of businesses that together form New Zealand's only integrated supply chain for aluminium and uPVC windows and doors.

The Lake Rochfort Scheme

Kawatiri Energy switched on the electricity supply in 2013, with a second stage coming online in 2017. The scheme involves a 4.2km pipeline from the Whareatea River to Lake Rochfort, a naturally formed lake, and a further 2km penstock with a fall of 405m down to the powerhouse at Christmas Creek, near Westport. Transmission lines take the power to the Buller network and while the grid does a great job of getting power to where it’s needed, when it’s needed, it can’t tell you where that power has come from. All power generated by Kawatiri Energy goes into the national network and is not fed to specific users, but the Brave Trace New Zealand Energy Certificate System offers businesses an opportunity to report on electricity usage as if it was sourced directly from that power station.

BraveTrace New Zealand Energy Certificate System

The scheme for tradeable Energy Certificates from hydro power operators in New Zealand is similar to the government’s Emissions Trading Scheme which allows industries to offset carbon emissions with the purchase of carbon credits.   

“It had strong appeal to the group,” says Mikayla Plaw, Executive Director of Organisational Development and Sustainability. “It means suppliers of renewable energy get a financial edge on those with thermal generation. It allows us to report implied zero-carbon electricity usage across our group, and because it costs Profile Group every year to do this it drives us to maximise energy conservation within our operations.” All certification is carefully monitored by BraveTrace to ensure there is no double-counting and it is time-bound to a particular production year. Certificates must either be redeemed or cancelled and removed from circulation in that year.

The scheme also requires that electricity usage for participating industries is carefully quantified to ensure that adequate certificates are acquired as an offset. For this reason, Profile Group will be the only purchaser of energy certificates from the Lake Rochfort Hydro Scheme. Mikayla said that the 19 GWh annual output from the scheme was a good match for current Profile Group electricity usage inclusive of a margin for growth. There were also opportunities for expanding generating capacity at Lake Rochfort which were under study. Profile Group's equity position in Kawatiri Energy strengthened the generator's ability to fund this investment, with its undoubted sustainability benefits. 

Profile Group’s participation in the BraveTrace Energy Certificate System will be examined and certified by independent consultancy Toitū Envirocare as part of their carbon reduction goals and ThinkStep as part of their Environmental Product Declaration project.