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Hope for billion dollar bio-economy to bloom

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National Bioenergy Roadmap the pathway to a resilient Australia

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor announced with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) that consultation has commenced on the development of a first-ever national bioenergy roadmap, to help inform the next series of investment and policy decisions in the bioenergy sector in Australia.

Bioenergy Australia CEO Shahana McKenzie said, “There are big challenges in recovery from the recent devastating bushfires and now the COVID-19 crisis. This presents us with a critical opportunity for Australia to invest in developing domestic industries such as the bioenergy sector for significant and sustained job creation, economic stimulus, while also boosting our self-sufficiency in fuel, gas and energy and other key industries such high value products and chemicals such as medical grade ethanol used in hand sanitiser for our front-line workers.

The roadmap will identify the role that the bioenergy sector can play in Australia’s energy transition and in helping Australia meet its emission reduction commitments, while leveraging the significant and multi-faceted opportunity – offering at a minimum $3.5-$5 billion investment opportunity, mostly in regional economies.”

Agriculture, farming, human habitation and forestry wastes and residues, manures and sludges, rendered animal fats, used oils, and timber residues as well as end of life plastics, tyres and municipal and construction wastes. These products can and should have a high value use in supporting Australia’s future development. They can be converted to produce electricity, heat, gas, liquid fuels such as aviation bio jet fuel and bio-based products. Most people would not be aware that if we captured all methane from wastewater treatment, piggeries and food processing related industries in NSW it would supply enough renewable gas to cover all domestic gas use in NSW.

As part Bioenergy Australia’s contribution to the roadmap development in the coming months, they’ve devised and just launched a Clean Economic Recovery Package for government consideration as part of how the bio-economy can and is ready to play a key role in Australia’s economic reset post-pandemic. This new and largely ignored industry in Australia could provide the perfect opportunity in transitioning fossil-based economies and struggling regional centres into thriving economic centres. All it needs is vision and support.

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The Bioenergy Australia Clean Economic Recovery Package outlines two key opportunities to support and strengthen Australia’s economic recovery; The development of a Clean Futures Target and Bio Industries Fund for Australia, both of which would provide substantial and sustained job creation, especially in regional Australia, increased self-sufficiency and resilience and waste and emissions
reduction and conversion of waste to valued products. Further information about the stimulus is available here.

McKenzie said Australians are looking to the Commonwealth Government for solutions and leadership as we transition out of COVID 19 and embark on our road to recovery.

“Australians are looking for new industries, increased domestic manufacturing, job security, reduced reliance on imports and enhanced self-sufficiency. If this can also be delivered in a way that reduces emissions and waste for a cleaner future, then the bio-economy should be part of the answer to buoy our nation’s economy – with a substantial number of projects shovel ready and able to be quickly executed,” said McKenzie.

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AMSJ Nov 2021