Time is ripe to consider biomass energy for Tasmania
CURRENT CONCERNS regarding energy supply in Tasmania present an opportunity to consider appropriately scaled biomass plants in the State, and one man who knows this better than most is Senator Richard Colbeck.
Currently Minister for Tourism and International Education as well as Minister assisting the Minister for Trade and Investment, the Senator previously championed the forestry and timber industry when he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture.
Senator Colbeck said the addition of another renewable energy source would enhance Tasmania’s reputation as a renewable State.
“A compilation of global science published in the journal Future Science shows that on a lifecycle basis biomass can reduce carbon emissions by up to 96%,” the Senator said.
“In 2013 Professor Andreas Rothe, from the University of Applied Sciences in Weihenstephan, produced a report that found Tasmania currently uses about 400,000 tonnes per year of bone dry forest biomass to generate heat – about 6.5% of Tasmania’s total energy supply.
“Based on current practice in Europe, biomass could supply up to 30% of Tasmania’s energy needs without having to cut down one additional tree.
“The WWF and the European Biomass Association set a target for achieving 15% of electrical production from biomass in OECD countries by 2020.
“As an OECD country with effectively no renewables coming from biomass, Australia has a long way to go to meet that target,” the Senator said.
“Biomass is renewable, cost-competitive with wind and cheaper than solar and provides base load energy when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine – it just makes sense.
“Biomass plants in Tasmania would create ongoing local employment and would add up to $200 million to the economy, with the greatest benefit in regional communities.”
Senator Colbeck said a biomass plant in Southern Tasmania would assist with the forest residues and provide surety for people working in the industry in that region.
“One of the very positive changes to the Renewable Energy Target made last year in accordance with our election commitment was to restore biomass back into the scheme,” Senator Colbeck said.
Senator Richard Colbeck.