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Bioenergy - key to Australia’s clean energy future

“Bioenergy has the potential to be the missing link and the broadest renewable energy source into the future”, said Bioenergy Australia today ahead of the release, this week, of the final Finkel Inquiry Report.

According to Dr Steve Schuck, CEO of Bioenergy Australia (BA), an information and networking forum fostering the use of biomass for energy and bio-based products the final Finkel Inquiry Report due to be released later this week should recognise the strong role that renewable bioenergy can play in Australia’s energy mix, including under the proposed Low Emissions Target (LET).

It is certainly time for Australia to embrace the potential for bioenergy and it must be an integral part of the Federal Government’s response to the Finkel Report. The vision of Bioenergy Australia is for sustainable bioenergy and bio-products to be recognised and widely adopted and deployed as an industry in Australia, and as an essential component in reaching carbon neutrality by 2050, said Dr Schuck.

Schuck points out that bioenergy is a “unique” renewable energy source that can be used across all three energy sectors and unlike other renewables it is also dispatchable and flexible. Thus bioenergy has the potential to play a much greater role in reducing Australia’s emissions.

While the Federal Government recognises electricity but not renewable heat from biomass as an eligible renewable source under the current Renewable Energy Target, bioenergy around the world is playing a much greater role in reducing emissions.

Australia lags other developed and developing nations when it comes to bioenergy, accounting for just 1.5 percent of Australia’s total electricity generation, whereas bioenergy makes up a much greater share of total energy consumption in countries like Finland (24 percent), Sweden (22 percent), and Denmark (17 percent). We have the potential to be at the forefront of being a solution, particularly given Australia’s large agricultural sector, said Dr Schuck.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, bioenergy is regarded as carbon neutral. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change also defines bioenergy as renewable, if it is produced from biomass that is sustainably managed, which Australia’s sources of biofuels and bioenergy are.

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