The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) welcomes the Turnbull Government’s announcement ‘Securing Our Energy Future’ today as a step in the right direction indicating the Government understands the scale of the energy crisis facing the country.
AFPA Chief Executive Officer Mr Ross Hampton said, “Forest products industry manufacturers are facing business-destroying costs in the form of electricity and gas contract increases of up to 250%. Thousands of regional jobs are on the line.
“The forest products industry is Australia’s sixth largest manufacturing industry, and a greater uptake of bioenergy from renewable wood waste in Australia’s energy mix would not only reduce forest product industries’ significant energy costs – it can also make a major contribution to Australia’s renewable and secure baseload energy supply.
“Australia has to embrace the potential of renewable bioenergy, including recognition of renewable heat, to secure our energy future and support Australian manufacturing jobs at a time when the sector is being hit hard by huge increases in both gas and electricity prices.
“The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) should recognise that bioenergy uniquely provides both renewable and secure baseload energy, which would complement intermittent renewables like wind and solar.”
Mr Hampton said renewable wood waste and residues can be co-fired in existing coal fired power generation plants across Australia significantly reducing their emissions profile and extending their operational lives, which is already done throughout Europe, US and Asia.
“While the Government already recognises electricity (but not renewable heat) from biomass as an eligible renewable source under the current Renewable Energy Target, with the right policy settings and investment support bioenergy could play a much greater role as a provider of renewable baseload energy,” Mr Hampton said.
“Other industry sectors with bioenergy potential such as agriculture, landfill and waste-to-energy could play an important role in Australia’s secure energy future, while substantially reducing emissions and reusing waste by-products from industrial processes.
“AFPA will continue to monitor the impact on gas pricing of the new regulations commencing on 1 July and the Government’s progression of the Chief Scientist’s other recommendations.”
Bioenergy is a unique renewable that can be used across all three energy sectors (transport, heat and electricity). Under the Kyoto Protocol, bioenergy is regarded as CO2 neutral. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change also defines bioenergy as renewable, if it is produced from biomass that is sustainably managed – as Australia’s commercial forestry operations are.