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The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is calling for input from stakeholders in Australia’s bioenergy sector to inform the development of the Bioenergy Roadmap.

ARENA has appointed a consortium of ENEA Consulting and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu to assist in delivering the Bioenergy Roadmap – the consortium is seeking to canvas views from a wide range of stakeholders through a series of workshops, direct interviews and an open submission process.

In 2019, ARENA announced that its board had agreed to a request from the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, 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 help to inform the next series of investment and policy decisions in the bioenergy sector in Australia, and will be an important input into the Australian Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap.

The Bioenergy Roadmap also has the potential to help capitalise on opportunities to enhance Australia’s energy security and further reduce emissions.

The project is expected to be completed in the second half of 2020 and 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

Bioenergy is an important part of the waste cycle, with waste products that are usually disposed instead being utilised and made into high-value energy. This includes waste products from the council, agricultural, industry and forestry sectors. Commonly used sources include: plastics, sugar cane waste, wood, wastewater and animal waste.

Australia has a unique opportunity to grow bioenergy which currently accounts for around four per cent of Australia’s current energy mix compared to around seven per cent in some other OECD countries. 

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,” Mr Miller said.

“It will also be an important input into the Australian Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap which will be released for public consultation soon.”

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,” Mr Taylor said. 

“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.”      

Submissions are invited from businesses, research groups, industry associations, community groups and individuals until 5pm AEST on Friday 29 May 2020.

For more information, click here.

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