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Bio-energy Roadmap – Opportunity for Australia to catch up and compete with the rest of the world

The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) is urging the Federal Government to commit $50 million in funding to help turbocharge the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) ‘Bioenergy Roadmap’.

The Roadmap will support Australia’s movement towards a renewable biofuture, creating better environmental outcomes, new innovative products, industries and jobs, and this week AFPA made its submission to ARENA on what is needed to make the Roadmap a reality.

AFPA Chief Executive Officer Ross Hampton said, “When it comes to the uptake of bioenergy, Australia is in the bottom quartile of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries with respect to bioenergy as a proportion of the country’s total energy supply. We are seriously lagging behind and need to grasp the many opportunities.”

“In Australia, biomass used to generate energy makes up around 4 per cent of total energy consumption. This stands in contrast to the European Union, where 10 per cent of energy consumption comes from biomass, Finland 24 per cent, Denmark 22 per cent, and Sweden 22 per cent. Australia is yet to fully recognise the potential of bioenergy to secure our energy future, address energy affordability, underpin manufacturing, and make a significant contribution to our emission reduction targets.”

“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. We are the seventh most forested country on the planet and our commercial forests are carefully managed and as heavily regulated as anywhere in the world.”

“Sustainably managed harvesting and processing operations in Australia generate significant waste offcuts and by-products every year, and the CO2 released by the combustion of renewable wood waste is captured by new plants as they regrow in a renewable cycle.”

“ARENA has undertaken a lot of great work in the development of the Bioenergy Roadmap so far. We now look forward to working with the Federal Government to ensure that the final Roadmap is adequately funded and implemented so that bioenergy and renewable heat from biomass achieve the recognition and supportive policies that they rightfully deserve.” Mr Hampton concluded.

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