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Industry associations partner to drive biogas opportunities in Australia

Two waste industry associations have joined forces to host an event focussed on driving outcomes for the development of renewable biogas and hydrogen in Australia.

The event will see Bioenergy Australia and Energy Networks Australia working together to support the development of the industry by showcasing how renewable biogas and hydrogen can create clean energy options for residential and commercial customers that use gas, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Bioenergy Australia CEO, Shahana McKenzie, said if all the organic waste from Australian domestic, industrial and agricultural industries were treated in biogas plants, it would have the potential to power almost one million Australian homes and would have a significant impact on emissions reductions.

“We hope the report can be used to inform policy and industry decisions into the future. As with any new industry, government needs to play a crucial role in its development, and we look forward to working with the government to drive this forward,” McKenzie said.

The event will include the release of a report, Biogas Opportunities for Australia, which will identify the opportunity for the development of a biogas industry and the barriers and challenges currently presented.

The report will assess the sector to identify biogas potential in the country. It will also review the barriers the need to be overcome in order to maximise the sector’s potential, while providing recommendations to advance the country’s biogas sector.

Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) bioenergy lead, Mac Irvine, said CEFC is excited to be working with Bioenergy Australia and Energy Networks Australia to promote the opportunities for biogas to play an expanded role in Australia’s future energy mix.

“Emissions reduction from biogas can be considerable, through the displacement of higher emissions energy sources and also through the repurposing of feedstock, which may have otherwise ended up in landfill,” Irvine said.

Part of the report has already been released and it indicated that the investment opportunity for new bioenergy and energy from waste projects is estimated at $3.5 to $5 billion, with the potential to avoid up to nine million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

A section of the report stated that the slow uptake of the technology has essentially been due to the difficult financial environment, policy uncertainty and grid connectivity.

Principal scientist for energy and bioresource recycling, Bernadette McCabe, said Australia’s transition to renewable natural gas gives biogas a massive opportunity to help meet targets and decarbonisation efforts, as well as providing a holistic solution to a range of waste management issues.

The report was written by ENEA Consulting, with support from the International Energy Agency, CEFC, Australia Renewable Energy Agency and Energy Networks Australia.

ENEA Consulting principal, Mendo Kundevski, said during this report, ENEA witnessed a strong stakeholder appetite to accelerate Australia’s renewable gas journey. “With additional policies, the biogas industry can offer many benefits, such as supporting jobs, especially in regional communities,” Kundevski said.

The Renewable Gas in Australia Symposium is on today at the Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour in Sydney.