NSW timber-for-power-generation plan comes under attack

The New South Wales Government’s recent approval to allow power generation from the burning of biomaterials sourced from native forests is being met with opposition from environmental groups.

The new regulations, which came into effect in March, allow the use of pulp wood logs and heads and off-cuts resulting from logging; trees cleared as a result of thinning carried out operations; and invasive native tree species, as reported by the ABC.

These biomaterials can be used to power electricity generators, for example, to power an industrial site and/or to feed into the grid.

However, there is growing concern from the Greens and non-political environmental groups, who say the burning of native forest is not a sustainable energy source and that the process produces more greenhouse emissions than coal-fired power generation.

NSW Minister for Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts told the ABC the regulations have, “been specifically designed to ensure there isn’t an increase in the intensity of logging.”

“To have off-cuts being used to generate cheap, efficient, clean power is a great move forward,” he said.

Greens MP John Kaye, however, argued the regulations allow for more than off-cuts and that the industry association doesn’t discuss aspects of the regulations that allow the use of entire trees.

Environmental groups have suggested the changes in regulation are aimed at lifting a flagging native forest pulp industry.