The Australian Forest Products Association SA Branch (AFPA-SA) has welcomed today’s inclusion of biomass in the SA Government’s suite of measures to improve South Australia’s energy security, but is calling for more active support for the renewable energy resource.
AFPA-SA has been actively promoting the potential of bioenergy from biomass, which is a renewable resource obtained from forest residues, and other organic waste. AFPA-SA State Manager Clare Scriven said that it was encouraging to see biomass included in the energy plan, as it is a resource that South Australia has in abundance, but that further tangible action was now needed.
“The Our Energy Plan document released by the State Government today announced a $150 million fund that will ‘support projects that make renewable energy available 24 hours a day, seven days a week’,” Ms Scriven said. “Bioenergy is ideally placed to provide this type of baseload power, so we would like to see investment in a bioenergy plant in the Mt Gambier region given a high priority.
“The Government has said the first project to be funded will be a grid-connected battery, which will provide the state with 100 megawatts of storage. Bioenergy in the Mt Gambier region from forest residues alone could potentially provide many times that amount, so we would like to see a bioenergy plant as the next project to be supported through this fund. AFPA-SA is writing to the Minister for Energy to call for this investment.”
“Bioenergy is the world’s largest renewable energy source and accounts for 77% of all renewable energy globally,” Ms Scriven said. “Woody biomass accounts for 87% of that figure, and the resources that we have in South Australia, especially in the Limestone Coast area, puts us in an ideal position to harness this sustainable resource.”
“Potentially bioenergy from renewable woody biomass sourced from the region surrounding Mt Gambier could supply up to five per cent of SA’s total electricity demand.”
What is bioenergy?
- Biomass is renewable organic waste such as scrap timber, forest debris, certain crops, manure and some types of waste residues
- These residues are burned to produce energy
- Renewable bioenergy can be in the form of electricity or industrial heat
- Use of biomass reduces waste going to landfill
- Bioenergy from wood waste is renewable and carbon neutral when the pellet source material comes from sustainably managed forests and wood waste
Why should SA harness bioenergy?
- South Australia has vast sustainably-managed forest plantations
- Bioenergy from wood waste from the associated processing facilities could fuel electricity or industrial heat production that has traditionally been sourced from fossil fuels
- With minimal conversion, some existing fossil-fuelled energy plants could be replaced or co-fuelled by renewable wood waste
- The International Energy Agency estimates that bioenergy could provide 7.5% of world electricity generation by the year 2050, and heat from bioenergy could provide 15% of global final energy consumption in industry and 20% of total consumption in the building sector
- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 4th Assessment) considers that over the long term, a sustainably managed working forest, with carbon stored in products and residues used for energy, is one of the very best things we can and should do about climate change.
* A number of forest product manufacturers in the South East of South Australia already use bioenergy to fuel their operations. Industrial heat from biomass is used to fuel sawn-timber drying kilns, reducing the call on wholesale power from the grid.