Carbon farming initiative turns landfill gas to profit

The Federal Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative has commenced and is operational, allowing farmers and land managers to earn carbon credits by storing carbon or reducing greenhouse gas emissions on the land. These credits can then be sold to people and businesses wishing to offset their emissions.

According to the clean energy industry’s peak body Clean Energy Council, the initiative is an important milestone for the bioenergy sector. Part of the Carbon Farming Initiative will allow waste management companies and local governments to reduce emissions and generate carbon credits, by capturing potent methane emissions to produce electricity for sale to the grid, or destroy it through flaring.

CEC director Kane Thornton said that bioenergy, such as that created from waste sources such as landfills, used proven technologies that prevent the release of dangerous methane gas and convert it into a clean source of power.

“The Carbon Farming Initiative is a welcome complementary measure to the carbon price that will assist these technologies to become increasingly cost-competitive as well as help Australia reach its emissions reductions targets,” Mr Thornton said.

Bioenergy currently provides just under 1 per cent of Australia’s electricity generation. With the right policy support in place, it has the potential to increase six-fold by 2020 to more than 10,600 GW-hours per year – enough to power the equivalent of 1.4 million Australian homes and avoid the emission of more than five million tonnes of carbon pollution into the atmosphere.

“The waste-to-energy industry is ready to assist landfill operators to reduce emissions and offset their costs,” Mr Thornton said.

Capturing methane gas also helps to preserve valuable landfill space, delaying metropolitan landfill sites from reaching full capacity.