The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has released its Bioenergy Roadmap, outlining a future for Australia’s bioenergy industry – to help lower emissions, increase fuel security, enhance waste recovery, and boost regional job opportunities.
The Bioenergy Roadmap reveals that the bioenergy sector could contribute around $10 billion to Australia’s GDP annually, create 26,200 new jobs, reduce emissions by about 9 per cent, divert an extra 6 per cent of waste from landfill, and enhance fuel security.
To support the implementation of the Bioenergy Roadmap, ARENA has also received $33.5 million in additional funding from the Federal Government to further support and advance Australia’s bioenergy sector through co-funding additional research, development, and deployment of advanced sustainable aviation and marine biofuels.
ARENA previously announced that its Board had agreed to a request from the Federal Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, to invest in the development of a roadmap to identify the economic and emissions reduction opportunities from the bioenergy sector.
ARENA engaged Enea Consulting and Deloitte Australia to assist in developing the Roadmap.
The Roadmap is based on extensive industry and public consultation including 147 submissions, nine stakeholder workshops and 40 direct interviews.
The Roadmap will be considered by the Federal Government and help to inform the next series of investment and policy decisions by the private and public sectors in the bioenergy industry in Australia.
The Roadmap highlights the opportunities that bioenergy offers for regional areas, with many feedstocks sourced from agricultural activities, such as sugarcane waste and livestock industries.
Bioenergy investment will support long-term regional employment, provide additional revenue streams for farmers and drive economic growth.
ARENA CEO, Darren Miller, said the Bioenergy Roadmap sets out the pathway for bioenergy 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,” Mr Miller said.
“As well as reducing our agricultural waste, bioenergy can reduce emissions in hard-to-abate sectors and can complement other low emission technologies.
“The Bioenergy Roadmap builds upon years of work in bioenergy and the lessons learned from those projects, and sets out a clear pathway forward for the bioenergy sector.”
Over the past eight years, ARENA has provided over $131 million in funding towards bioenergy projects across Australia.
“We hope this roadmap will provide the information required by governments and industry to further develop our bioenergy resources and support future growth,” Mr Miller said.
“We welcome the additional funding from the Australian Government, which will help ARENA to immediately help the sector in funding new research, development and deployment projects in aviation and maritime biofuels.”
ARENA’s investments to date span electricity and biogas production, biofuels, efficient feedstock harvesting technology, and projects that aim to capture energy from a range of waste materials.