The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) welcomes the reiteration from the Federal Government that native forest wood waste must be from sustainable forest harvesting operations to be eligible for renewable bioenergy as part of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme.

In Parliament today, Victorian Senator Ricky Muir asked the spokesperson for the Minister for Industry and Science in the Senate, Senator Michael Ronaldson the following question: “Recently the Australian Government announced that it will reinstate native forest wood waste as a feedstock for renewable biomass as part of the Renewable Energy Target. I understand that this feedstock will be waste material such as tree branches, sawdust and timber offcuts from sustainable forest harvesting and processing operations. Can the Minister confirm that this is the case?”

Senator Ronaldson replied, “I can confirm that situation, the use of native forest wood for the sole or primary purpose of generating renewable electricity has never been eligible for RET certificates under the scheme, and that will remain. But offcuts, sawdust, tree branches, essentially bi-products of forestry projects are what is used to generate renewable electricity. [Labor and the Greens] would prefer to see the wood waste lie on the ground and rot, which coincidently produces more carbon dioxide than if the waste is used for a useful purpose. In 2012, Labor’s own Climate Change Authority recommended that wood waste be reinstated as an eligible form of electricity generation. This Government consistently raises this issue at the negotiation table over the last 12 months, this is not a last minute addition, this is a matter the coalition has been discussing for years.”

The Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Mr Ross Hampton said, “Until we grow square trees we will always have a large amount of residues and offcuts from our sustainable forestry operations. The biomass material in question is a waste product and will not affect the level of native forest harvesting in Australia.”

About biomass wood waste: Sustainably managed harvesting and processing operations in Australia generate mountains of offcuts and organic waste every year. These offcuts include sawdust, shavings and bark. Additional biomass is left on the forest floor, providing mountains of kindling for mega bushfires or pushed into piles to rot away or be burnt to clear the site for regeneration. With the incentive of renewable energy certificates many regional enterprises would be able to convert coal or gas fired power and heating facilities to use the wood waste, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The commercial forest operators who are members of the Australian Forest Products Association are 100% environmentally certified by either FSC or PEFC (AFS) and plant or sow more than 60 million trees each year.

 

12.05.2015 Wood waste for RET must be sustainably sourced