BIO-ENERGY “IGNORED” SAYS NEW RE­PORT

ABC (Australia) - - NEWS -

A NA­TIONAL bil­lion-dol­lar bioen­ergy in­dus­try con­tin­ues to be ignored and calls for lead­er­ship on the is­sue have been made, fol­low­ing the re­lease of cru­cial re­port at the be­gin­ning of De­cem­ber.

A col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort be­tween Bioen­ergy Aus­tralia and KPMG,

the Bioen­ergy State of the

Na­tion Re­port is the first na­tional as­sess­ment of its kind that iden­ti­fies Aus­tralia’s sig­nif­i­cant bioen­ergy op­por­tu­nity and pro­vides cri­te­ria for kick-start­ing Aus­tralia’s bioen­ergy econ­omy, it states.

The new re­port shows Queens­land is the na­tional leader while Aus­tralia lags be­hind glob­ally with no na­tional strat­egy.

The op­por­tu­nity for Aus­tralia is sig­nif­i­cant and multi-faceted, of­fer­ing a AUD$3.5–$5 bil­lion in­vest­ment op­por­tu­nity, mostly in re­gional economies, which the Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment is be­ing urged to ad­dress.

Bioen­ergy Aus­tralia CEO Sha­hana McKen­zie said, “The re­port re­views the poli­cies of states and ter­ri­to­ries in or­der to share learn­ing and fa­cil­i­tate pol­icy trans­fer across Aus­tralia, with much to be gained through adop­tion of ‘best prac­tice’ ap­proaches through­out Aus­tralia.

“For ex­am­ple, Queens­land has adopted a num­ber of suc­cess­ful poli­cies which can be adapted and de­ployed to drive bioen­ergy up­take across the coun­try,” she ex­plained.

NA­TIONAL POL­ICY NEEDED

Bioen­ergy is gen­er­ated from the con­ver­sion of solid and liq­uid biomass prod­ucts for use as elec­tric­ity, heat, gas, liq­uid fu­els and bio-based prod­ucts and de­liv­ers a range of ben­e­fits such as em­ploy­ment and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of ru­ral/agri­cul­tural com­mu­ni­ties, energy se­cu­rity, util­i­sa­tion of waste streams and re­duc­tion in green­house gas emis­sions.

While the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has im­ple­mented mech­a­nisms to re­duce car­bon emis­sions, such as the Re­new­able Energy Tar­get and Emis­sions Re­duc­tion Fund, a na­tional vi­sion, pol­icy ob­jec­tives and/or pol­icy levers would un­lock Aus­tralia’s bio-econ­omy, or­gan­is­ers state.

Re­port as­sess­ments were based on bioen­ergy per­for­mance mea­sured against five eval­u­a­tion cri­te­ria: pol­icy de­vel­op­ment and ef­fec­tive­ness, bioen­ergy project de­vel­op­ment, tech­nol­ogy and feed­stock, sus­tain­abil­ity guid­ance, ad­vo­cacy and ed­u­ca­tion.

The ma­jor­ity of the 179 com­mis­sioned bioen­ergy projects are in Queens­land, NSW and Vic­to­ria (77 per cent) and the main tech­nolo­gies com­prise com­bus­tion (56 per cent) and anaer­o­bic di­ges­tion (29 per cent).

All states are lack­ing di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion across feed­stock and tech­nol­ogy, and most projects pro­duce elec­tric­ity as an out­put, which a na­tional vi­sion could trans­form, it states.

“Queens­land is driving the bioen­ergy agenda on a num­ber of fronts, and should be com­mended for the in­cred­i­ble work hap­pen­ing across the state. They have a gov­ern­ment who recog­nises bioen­ergy as a pri­or­ity in­dus­try, ac­tively rolling out new projects through the de­liv­ery of the Bio­fu­tures Roadmap and Bio­fu­tures Pro­gram,” said McKen­zie.

The re­port found Aus­tralia in the bot­tom quar­tile for bioen­ergy con­tri­bu­tion glob­ally, lag­ging be­hind other Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Eco­nomic Co-op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment (OECD) coun­tries plac­ing 20 out of 24 re­viewed.

“There is a new in­dus­try wait­ing to be de­vel­oped for bio-chem­i­cals which can re­place the need for fos­sil-fuel based de­riv­a­tives en­tirely. If we don’t seize this op­por­tu­nity we will be left be­hind and end up im­port­ing what could be made lo­cally, with sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts,” said McKen­zie.

“Queens­land has adopted a num­ber of suc­cess­ful poli­cies which can be adapted to drive bioen­ergy up­take.”

Above (L-R): Fed­eral mem­ber Bob Kat­ter, Kirsty Beavon (Manil­dra bio­foods pro­ducer), Sha­hana McKen­zie –CEO Bioen­ergy Aus­tralia, and Dr John Hew­son– Bioen­ergy ad­vo­cate (and for­mer politi­cian) out­side a Vol­gren­bod­ied Euro 6 Scania bus at the launch of the re­port.

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