Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens Member for Bass
Resources Minister Paul Harriss is exactly right; export of wood chips is a poor, unprofitable use of our precious forests. But, biomass comes a very close second.
What we are seeing are the same tired, old Liberal policies of shutting down renewables in favour of coal and wood fired energy production. The impacts for climate change will be disastrous, and energy production from biomass just another massive step backwards under this government.
We have more than enough energy generated in Tasmania already, maintained by world class eco-friendly hydro electric power. It would a mistake to risk our clean, green image by investing in a polluting energy industry when there is no need for it.
If each municipality were to heat their own facilities in this way the consequences for the economy and the environment could by very dire. High volumes of wood, with very low returns on production and transmission of energy are reason enough for individual communities to avoid investing to produce their own polluting energy, not to mention the adverse consequences for Hydro Tasmania’s ability to maintain profits.
Inclusion of biomass in the RET was controversial at best, and serious questions are still being raised around the viability of investing in byproduct to generate energy when there are such little returns. Such an industry may not even get off the ground if investors don’t see potential for profit.
And the same old chestnut applies; where is the timber going to come from? Both Forico and Ta Ann have stated they are not willing to sell byproduct for biomass furnaces in Tasmania.