Bioenergy Australia, in collaboration with KPMG, has released the first state-of-the-nation assessment of Australia’s bioenergy sector, highlighting a $3.5-$5 billion investment opportunity which the Australian government is being urged to address.
Bioenergy is generated from the conversion of solid and liquid biomass products for the use as electricity, heat, gas, liquid fuels and other bio-based products.
Bioenergy Australia CEO, Shahana McKenzie, said that the Bioenergy State of the Nation report reviews the policies of Australian states and territories to share learning and facilitate policy transfer nation-wide, with much to be gained through the adoption of ‘best practice’ approaches.
State and territory assessments were based on bioenergy performance measured against five evaluation criteria: policy development and effectiveness, bioenergy project development, technology and feedstock, sustainability guidance, advocacy and education.
While all states and territories still hold room to improve, Queensland was found to have adopted several successful policies which can be adapted and deployed to drive bioenergy uptake across the country. South Australia and Victoria followed close behind.
Ms McKenzie explained that what makes Queensland the leader is because the state has identified bioenergy as a huge opportunity and has developed a vision to capitalise on it.
Further to this, Ms McKenzie said that Queensland’s policy objectives are better defined and more aligned to the bioenergy sector compared to other states and territories, with strong evidence of advocacy of the benefits and opportunities from bioenergy.
Acting Queensland State Development Minister, Stirling Hinchliffe, said the endorsement by Bioenergy Australia is a testament to the foresight of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in identifying bio-futures as a priority and actively pursuing investment opportunities for the industry.
“Through strong policies and best-practice approaches, Queensland is clearly leading other states and territories in identifying ways to accelerate this sector and reaping the rewards of this proactivity,” he said.
The report found that while the Federal Government has implemented mechanisms to reduce carbon emissions (such as the Renewable Energy Target and Emissions Reduction Fund), a national vision, policy objectives and/or policy levers would unlock Australia’s bio-economy.
The report also indicates that from a local and global level, these factors remain critical to the development of the bio-economy, with the potential to positively impact big issues for Australia such as emissions, utilisation of waste streams and regional growth.
The report found Australia in the bottom quartile for bioenergy contribution globally, lagging behind other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries and came in at number 19 out of 24 reviewed.
“There is no shortage of viable options we can implement to drive us forward, and we hope the Bioenergy Australia State of the Nation report can be this force for change in the sector, so Australia can leverage the wide-ranging potential benefits of a bio-economy before it’s too late,” said Ms McKenzie.
The full report can be found here.