The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) welcomes the Government’s commitment to “reward” biomass in the National Energy Guarantee (NEG), indicating the Government understands Australia’s continuing energy crisis and the underutilised benefits of renewable bioenergy.
“Unlike previous approaches, we are not picking winners, we are levelling the playing field. Coal, gas, hydro and biomass will be rewarded for their dispatchability while wind, solar and hydro will be recognised as lower emissions technologies but will no longer be subsidised.”
PM Malcolm Turnbull and the Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP Minister for the Environment and Energy joint media release, 17 October 2017 (page 2). Emphasis added.
AFPA Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ross Hampton said, “Forest products manufacturers continue to face crippling electricity and gas cost increases of up to 200%. Thousands of regional jobs are on the line. Bioenergy uniquely, provides renewable, dispatchable and baseload energy and can play a role in both the reliability and emissions guarantees by complementing existing coal-fired power plants and intermittent renewables like wind and solar.”
Mr Hampton said, “Wood waste from harvesting and manufacturing operations in Australia is currently used for very low value products such as stable bedding. Without harvesting a single additional tree, these residues could instead be co-fired in existing coal fired power generation plants across Australia, significantly reducing their emissions profile and extending their operational lives. This is currently the case overseas in countries such as the United Kingdom Norway, Denmark, South Korea and Japan. Australia currently exports pelletised renewable wood waste for use in co-firing operations helping other countries achieve their emissions reduction and baseload power goals.”
Energy from biomass, such as forestry and agriculture residues, is a renewable that can be used across all three energy sectors (transport, heat and electricity). The CO2 released by the combustion of the renewable wood waste is captured by new plants as they regrow in a sustainable cycle. 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.