Bioenergy is the largest form of renewable energy in Australia and the world.
Also known as “biomass”, it’s made from plant-derived organic matter, organic by-products and waste streams. This organic matter is used to produce heat, cooling, electricity, transport fuel and a host of different products.
In Tasmania, an abundance of under-utilised biomass makes bioenergy an attractive, cost-effective form of renewable energy. Thanks to our readily available resources, we can adopt bioenergy easily and rapidly, replacing fossil fuels in every market. It has great potential for fueling transport, injection into the gas network and powering industrial hubs and processes, hospitals, nursing homes, aquatic centres, schools, shopping centres and large buildings.
This position is supported by work of the Australian Biomass to Bioenergy Assessment project (ABBA), who conducted a biomass resource audit of Tasmania’s organic wastes to identify sources, types and quantities or organic matter that may be available for bioenergy production. The ABBA project was part-funded with a $240 000 grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and AgriFutures.
The Government’s vision for bioenergy is currently being developed and will be available for public consultation during 2021.
Related policy documents
- Tasmanian Renewable Energy Action Plan
- Waste Action Plan
- Climate Change (State Action) Act 2008 (the Act)
- Competitiveness of Tasmanian Agriculture for 2050 White Paper
- Strategic Growth Plan for the Tasmanian Forests, Fine Timers and Wood Fibre Industry (2017)
- Tasmanian Wood Encouragement Policy
Frequently asked questions
A Bioenergy Vision will demonstrate to investors the Government’s support for this sector and provide certainty and confidence for future investment in our state.
Bioenergy plants run on biomass that is a waste or residue otherwise discarded in the landscape or treated in our waste management system.
Bioenergy can be produced from wet and dry organic residues and waste including sewage sludge, organics that go into landfill, agricultural waste such as processing residues or unused plant parts, and forest harvest and processing residues and waste.
No, Tasmania has an abundance of existing waste and residue streams meaning we do no need to grow any crops specifically for bioenergy.
No, returns for bioenergy are not high enough to drive forest harvesting for this purpose.
We have enormous quantities of forestry waste which can be used for bioenergy rather than being left to rot or be added to our waste disposal infrastructure.
Bioenergy is recognised globally as a renewable energy source as all biomass can be regrown. The waste and residue biomass used for bioenergy would otherwise decompose and thus represents a missed opportunity and potentially an environmental and health risk. Bioenergy is also carbon neutral.
Bioenergy is produced from biomass that would otherwise decompose to greenhouse gasses without providing energy for society. When used as an energy source that displaces fossil fuels, the emissions from fossil fuels are prevented. As biomass can regrow, bioenergy is renewable and emissions from biomass are removed from the atmosphere as biomass regrows.
No, modern bioenergy is very clean and can be placed in cities and residential areas, as they commonly are around the world.
Bioenergy can displace fossil fuels in every market. Bioenergy can be used to make heat, electricity, cooling and transport fuels and combinations of these. Bioenergy can also produce bio-methane that can displace natural gas in the gas network.
Waste biomass must be disposed of or managed at the owners expense as it may pose a fire hazard, health hazard, support pests and diseases or simply get in the way. Bioenergy facilities can receive waste streams and turn waste biomass into an energy source, solving waste issues and potentially turning waste into a commodity.
Energy expenses are retained in local communities rather than being sent to an external energy supplier. The feedstock collection and handling supply chain creates employment. Bioenergy is improves the competitiveness of business by providing low cost energy and a waste solution, retaining and potentially attracting businesses to the regions.
The bioeconomy is economic activity involving the use of biomass and biotechnology in the production of goods, services and energy.
The circular economy is an economy where resources are reused and re-purposed as long as is possible to extract the maximum value from raw materials.
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Links to other bioenergy resources
- Tasmania’s Bioenergy Future Summit - listen to recordings of Tasmania’s Bioenergy Future Online Summit held November 2020
- Bioenergy Australia - the national industry association committed to accelerating Australia’s bio economy
- Bioenergy Association (New Zealand) - represents its members based in New Zealand and Australia to support members' business and promote their expertise and capabilities in bioenergy and bioenergy related solutions
- Global Bioenergy Statistics - link to the World Bioenergy Association
- International Energy Agency (IEA)- provides information on the international bioenergy sector
- IEA Bioenergy - set up by IEA to coordinate information exchanges on national programs relating to bioenergy research, development and deployment. You can view their Annual Report 2020 here
- Australian Renewable Energy Agency (AREANA) - learn about the work ARENA is doing to develop 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 obligations
- Clean Energy Finance Corporation - learn about investment opportunities for bioenergy
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change (links to their bioenergy report)