The determination by industry associations in recent months to clarify that wood waste considered in the RET would be from sustainable sources have paid off.
The Tasmanian Government has also welcomed the passing of the RET legislation, commenting that it provides new certainty for Tasmania’s investments in renewable energy and local jobs.
Premier Will Hodgman said the passing of the RET is positive news for industry.
“We’re pleased that wood residues were included in the final bill, although it was disappointing to see Federal Tasmanian Labor Senators remaining opposed to their inclusion.
“It is important that all possible uses for wood residues are available in order to maximise jobs in the forest industry, and there is no doubt that using wood residue to create renewable energy is preferable to exporting woodchips,” Mr Hodgman said.
The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) previously welcomed the reiteration from the Federal Government which stated that native forest wood waste must be from sustainable forest harvesting operations to be eligible for renewable bioenergy.
In May, Victorian Senator Ricky Muir posed the question in Parliament to clarify the definition of “˜native forest wood waste’ to be used as part of the RET.
It was confirmed that the waste, such as tree branches, sawdust and timber offcuts from sustainable forest harvesting and processing operations, would be the only wood waste used.
Liberal Senator for Victoria Michael Ronaldson stated that; “I can confirm the use of native forest wood for the sole or primary purpose of generating renewable electricity has never been eligible for RET certificates under the scheme, and that will remain.
“But offcuts, sawdust, tree branches – essentially bi-products of forestry projects – are what is used to generate renewable electricity,” Mr Ronaldson said.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), Mr Ross Hampton, backed this statement.
“Until we grow square trees we will always have a large amount of residues and offcuts from our sustainable forestry operations. The biomass material in question is a waste product and will not affect the level of native forest harvesting in Australia,” he confirmed.