Last week the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) released the long awaited Bioenergy Roadmap. The roadmap sets out collaboration opportunities for all levels of government, research institutions and industry to grow Australia’s bioenergy sector and outlines areas where bioenergy has a comparative advantage and complements other low emissions technologies.
QFF has welcomed the release of the roadmap and has long advocated for the opportunities that the bioenergy and biocommodity sector can bring to the agricultural sector. Not only bringing Queensland closer to net zero, but also providing opportunities for farmers to valorise their by-products and maximise productivity and profitability. In fact, Queensland’s farmers and agribusinesses are already active participants in the bioenergy sector operating anaerobic digestion facilities and renewable biocommodities plants, like that in Mackay, which converts biomass into biofuels, green chemicals and other bioproducts. However, many barriers remain to what is fundamentally a good opportunity.
QFF has identified several limitations of the current Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) methodology for manures and have previously called for review of the method of measuring and forecasting Animal Manure Emissions as part of the Commonwealth’s own National Inventory Improvement Plan. Currently pork, dairy and beef are the preferred primary industries under the ERF method. However, for poultry manure to be considered eligible, it must be sent to a piggery, dairy farm or feedlot that has been registered under the ERF.
QFF has also been advocating for a new ERF method for Bioenergy that supports the diversity of the agricultural sector as well as the broad range of carbon abatement and reduction opportunities that can be delivered. For good reason, with a recent QUT report demonstrating that there is a potential resource of 421PJpa and carbon abatement opportunity of ~20Mtpa CO2-e if agricultural waste was converted to biomethane.
There are proven, as well as new technology, opportunities emerging for the agriculture sector to value-add to resource streams and redirect by-products to realise bio-economy efficiencies and maximise financial returns. Moreover, there are projects across the state waiting to go if we can get the policy settings right. The new year must deliver tools and mechanisms for the agricultural sector to meaningfully participate in these opportunities.