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The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has released its Bioenergy Roadmap which lays out a vision for a sustainable bioenergy industry that can help lower emissions, increase fuel security, enhance waste recovery and deliver economic benefits.

According to the Roadmap, the bioenergy sector could contribute around $10 billion to Australia’s GDP annually and create 26,200 new jobs, reduce emissions by about 9%, divert an extra 6% of waste from landfill, and enhance fuel security.

The Roadmap is based on extensive industry and public consultation including 147 submissions, nine stakeholder workshops and 40 direct interviews. The Agency has received $33.5m in government funding to support the implementation of the Roadmap and advance the sector.

ARENA CEO Darren Miller said the Bioenergy Roadmap builds upon years of work in bioenergy and the lessons learned from those projects, and sets out a clear pathway for the sector over the next decade.

“Bioenergy has significant potential to complement Australia’s future energy mix and our economy. Being so diverse, bioenergy can benefit multiple sectors with residential, commercial and industrial applications.

“As well as reducing our agricultural waste, bioenergy can reduce emissions in hard-to-abate sectors and can complement other low-emission technologies,” Miller said.

Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor welcomed the Roadmap and said, “Like many technologies, working with industry to drive down production costs to price parity with traditional energy sources will be key to widespread uptake, with flow-on benefits to fuel security and diverting more waste from landfill.”

Leading industry association Bioenergy Australia CEO Shahana McKenzie said, “This Roadmap defines a clear decade of bioenergy action for Australia and acknowledges the urgency for the bioenergy sector to play a bigger part in the nation’s energy market.

“We are confident the bioenergy sector is ready to take on this decade of acceleration. And of particular excitement [are] the funding mechanisms which will enable this plan and particularly the amount of action that will be realised in the next three very important years.”

McKenzie continued, “We are fully aligned with the government’s commitment to a sustainable bioenergy industry that delivers lower emissions, regional growth, energy resilience and waste management benefits for Australia.

“In particular, regional Australia has long been seeking out pathways as to how they are going to participate in lowering emissions. This Roadmap answers these questions and gives them an opportunity to play a significant role in the future of low emissions energy and fuel markets.

“We have a number of live industrial renewable heat projects that show bioenergy is a viable and economically beneficial way forward in this space.

“We’ve seen in recent years how large disruptions can impact critical systems, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, and increasing fuel consumption cover is of critical importance for Australia's economy and livelihoods. We are excited at the role bioenergy will play in ensuring Australia's fuel security into the future.

“This is a seminal moment for our country and the future of clean energy. To realise the potential, we must prioritise these key technologies and make this solid investment to deliver a world-leading bioeconomy for Australia,” McKenzie said.

Bioenergy Australia has launched Bioenergy Kickstarter, an online tool designed to showcase how bioenergy technologies can assist businesses and help them understand the most suitable bioenergy options for them.

Those who create waste or biomass and want to know how they can use this to make energy, or those who use energy and want more information on bioenergy options, can visit the Bioenergy Kickstarter page to discover personalised results.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Jürgen Fälchle

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