In Australia, the Liberal-National Government will examine how Australia can build its bioenergy sector to become an increased source of clean energy and potential economic and job creation opportunities. At the request of the Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has started to develop a Bioenergy Roadmap and now calls for public submissions on how Australia can build its bioenergy sector and strengthen the country’s energy security.
Australia has a unique opportunity to grow bioenergy which currently accounts for around four percent of Australia’s current energy mix compared to around seven percent in some other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.
The Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said Australia had several natural advantages for bioenergy, such as a large agricultural sector and a vibrant clean energy industry.
Bioenergy has the potential to grow as a future energy source in Australia, providing dispatchable energy while at the same time improving our fuel security and playing a role in reducing emissions. With the appropriate settings and pathways, the bioenergy sector can provide many benefits for Australia such as safeguarding soil and water quality and making productive use of waste resources. Significantly, a strong bioenergy industry can also help to support our local farmers and bring more economic growth for regional areas, Minister Taylor said.
In November 2019, ARENA announced that its Board had agreed to a request from Minister Angus Taylor, to invest in the development of a roadmap to identify the role that the bioenergy sector can play in Australia’s energy transition and in helping Australia meet its emission reduction commitments.
The Bioenergy Roadmap will focus on economic opportunities, including a focus on regional Australia, and the potential for biofuels to help decarbonise the industrial and transport sectors, and strengthen Australia’s liquid fuel security.
The Bioenergy Roadmap will help to inform investment and policy decisions in the bioenergy sector in Australia. This work will form an important input into the Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap, which will open soon for a consultation.
The Bioenergy Roadmap, expected to be completed in the second half of this year, will focus on:
- Quantifying the economic opportunities for Australia, including a focus on regional Australia
- The potential for biofuels to decarbonise the industrial and transport sectors and contribute more broadly to Australia’s liquid fuel security
- Assessing where Australia has a competitive advantage
- Identifying economic or regulatory impediments to future growth
- Providing clear findings for industry and government to help inform the next stage of development of the sector.
Stakeholder consultation open
On behalf of ARENA, ENEA Consulting and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu are seeking to canvas views from a wide range of stakeholders in Australia’s bioenergy sector through a series of workshops, direct interviews, and an open submission process.
ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the roadmap is expected to provide clear findings for industry and government to drive outcomes for the development of the bioenergy industry in Australia.
The development of the Bioenergy Roadmap presents an opportunity to allow industry leaders, researchers, and the public to provide insight into the current state of bioenergy in Australia and how best we can grow the sector in the future. It will also be an important input into the Australian Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap which will be released for public consultation soon, said Darren Miller.
Over the past 8 years, ARENA has provided approximately AU$118 million in funding towards bioenergy projects across Australia. ARENA’s investments to date span electricity and biogas production, biofuels, efficient feedstock harvesting technology, and projects that aim to capture energy from a range of waste materials.
Submissions are invited from businesses, research groups, industry associations, community groups, and individuals until May 29, 2020. A final report will be provided to the Minister later this year.