Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

7 February 2016

Paul Harriss, Minister for Resources

Biomass for future renewable energy

The recent unprecedented events including the failure of Basslink and low rainfall has been challenging, and the Government is determined to ensure Tasmania’s future energy needs are catered for.

One option that the government is actively considering is biomass – residues from value-added forestry operations sourced from timber production areas and used as a renewable energy source.

Significant volumes of residues are generated each year from forest operations, estimated to produce nearly as much power as the Tarraleah Power Station without cutting down a single additional tree.

To put it another way, that’s enough energy to power around 70,000 homes for a year.

In the light of the recent unprecedented events affecting our energy security, I can confirm that the Southwood project is once again being actively considered by the Government.

The Southwood development was designed to incorporate a biomass power plant fed by forestry residues and remains investment-ready. The Southwood property would add significantly to the state’s renewable energy capacity.

We are also considering biomass proposals in the North, and North West.

In addition, in December last year I announced the next stage in the Expression of Interest process for Southern Residues. It is also a matter of record that includes proposals relating to biomass.

The current stage of the EoI process concludes on 17 February, and I will have more to say after the closing date about the way forward.

The current energy challenge has highlighted the need to diversify our renewable energy portfolio and the Government is open to exploring all options.

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