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Renewable Energy Action Plan Must Rule Out Biomass

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 14 May 2020

Tags: Renewable Energy, Climate Change, Carbon Storage, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Biomass

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Energy spokesperson

The Greens welcome the Draft Renewable Energy Action Plan’s aim for our island to become a world leader in renewable energy. That said, there are glaring issues.

In the race to prevent global climate heating, Tasmania must first and foremost reduce carbon emissions. The Draft Plan has missed this central point.

Consideration of burning biomass for renewable energy is absurd doublespeak. It is no more than a destructive plan to continue native forest logging under the guise of renewable energy.

The creative accounting and weasel words used to justify the logging of carbon sinks have no place in our renewable future.

The Draft Plan leaves the door open to investment in transport electrification and small-scale rooftop solar, but provides no details about deliverables. Instead of the proposed, entirely unexplained, new unit “Renewables Tasmania” focusing on biomass, it should fast-track the electrification of transport.

The Plan correctly identifies energy efficiency programs as critical for Tasmanian households and businesses to reduce both emissions and power bills, but does not set energy efficiency targets. It is essential the State Government steps up its ambition and focuses economic investment towards this area.

The Draft Plan does project Tasmania will become self-sufficient in renewable electricity generation by 2022. We look forward to the end of the state’s continued reliance on brown coal-generated power imports and burning gas during dry months.

Recent statements from the Australian Energy Market Operator cast doubt on the cost-effectiveness of future pumped hydro projects compared to the emerging competition of battery technology. Many questions still remain unanswered about the profitability of Tasmania’s first undersea interconnector, Basslink.

With the proposed start date for Marinus Link of 2028, the government must have its eye on emerging technologies to ensure Tasmania is not left with an expensive white elephant.

Tasmania’s commitment and contribution to reducing the nation’s carbon emissions must be balanced by the reality of what is on offer elsewhere in the highly competitive mainland electricity market. There are many smaller, diversified renewable energy opportunities for our State.

We must ensure a rushed entry into large-scale project financing does not us leave us in a poorer budgetary position for decades to come – especially as we recover from COVID-19.