ARENA unveils new Bioenergy Roadmap

Sugar cane pictured in front of electricity transmission tower (Bioenergy Roadmap)
Image: Shutterstock

Bioenergy could play a significant role in reducing emissions, stimulating the Australian economy and creating jobs in regional areas, according to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) Bioenergy Roadmap.

ARENA’s Bioenergy Roadmap lays out a vision for a sustainable bioenergy industry that can help lower emissions, increase fuel security, enhance waste recovery, and deliver economic benefits.

The roadmap reveals that the bioenergy sector could contribute around $10 billion to Australia’s GDP annually and 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.

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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 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. 

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,” he 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. We hope this roadmap will provide the information required by governments and industry to further develop our bioenergy resources and support future growth.”

“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.”

Bioenergy Australia CEO Shahana McKenzie said, “This roadmap defines a clear decade of bioenergy action for Australia and acknowledges the urgency for the bioenergy sector to play a bigger part in the nation’s energy market.

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We are confident the bioenergy sector is ready to take on this decade of acceleration. And of particular excitement is the funding mechanisms which will enable this plan and particularly the amount of action that will be realised in the next three very important years.” 

Over the past eight years, ARENA has provided over $131 million in funding towards bioenergy projects across Australia. 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.

To read and download the Bioenergy Roadmap, visit ARENA’s website.