Time is ripe to consider biomass energy for Tasmania

23 December 2015

The current concerns regarding energy supply in Tasmania present an opportunity to consider appropriately scaled biomass plants in the state.

Senator Richard 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 per cent," Senator Colbeck 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 per cent of Tasmania's total energy supply.

"Based on current practice in Europe, biomass could supply up to 30 per cent 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 per cent 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.

"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 this year in accordance with our election commitment was to restore biomass back into the scheme.

231215 Time is ripe to consider biomass energy for Tasmania
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