Australian bioenergy projects and growth in 2018
In 2018 an impressive 21% of electricity generated in Australia was from renewable sources. However, bioenergy only scores a small 7.1% of the country’s renewable electricity generation accounting for 1.5% of the total power generation. That doesn't seem like a lot in the big picture but even though that figure seems low it’s actually enough power for 742,418 households.
There are currently 222 bioenergy plants generating green power across the country, with 55 more projects in the pipeline for the near future. Bioenergy in Australia is definitely gaining traction, with it's versatility and eco friendly nature it's not hard to see why.
Australian bioenergy projects
Queensland’s Maryborough Sugar Factory Ltd sugar mill led the way this year with a $75 million plant using bagasse, a waste product from sugar production, to generate up to 24 MW of power for the region. Another impressive green power generator is the Select Harvest Carina West Cogeneration plant in Victoria’s north west which utilises the waste hull and shells from their almond processing facility to reduce the carbon footprint by huge 27%. The plant will generate enough electricity to power the almond facility and the nearby Carina Orchard irrigation pumps.
A power generation project located in Caboolture in Queensland’s south east uses landfill produced biogas. Landfill feedstock makes up the most predominant source in the country. Another large scale landfill bioenergy project is set to divert up to 50% of the residential waste from Perth’s metro area from landfill sites, generating electricity for around 50,000 households across the West Australian capital. In total, around 64% of the bioenergy feedstock in the country comes from municipal and industrial waste sources.
Benefits of bioenergy growth
Increased development of bioenergy in Australia is fueling regional employment, investment, and economic growth. It also provides energy security for areas which often experience power issues due to remoteness or distance from mains power locations.
Bioenergy benefits the environment on a national as well as a global front as greenhouse gas emissions are reduced due to sustainably sourced biomass’s carbon neutrality.
The use of biomass provides a positive avenue to reuse or recycle agricultural, commercial, and industrial waste, eliminating the effects of the often costly waste removal or treatment practices on the environment.
Throughout 2018 bioenergy was created from a variety of sources including:
- Local council industrial and residential waste and landfill gas - 64%
- Agricultural products such as bagasse and oils - 19%
- Wood waste - 9%
- Waste from livestock operations - 8%
- Waste water containing biodegradable organic matter
With 4% of energy production in Australia coming from biomass the country still has a long way to go to catch the worlds larger bioenergy users such as the European Union which generates around 10% of its power from bioenergy.
Ref - https://selectharvests.com.au/sustainability/, https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/piano.revolutionise.com.au/news/vabsvwo5pa8jnsgs.pdf, https://assets.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/documents/resources/reports/clean-energy-australia/clean-energy-australia-report-2019.pdf