Local bioenergy leaders welcome valuable insights

Bioenergy sector supports obtaining greater value from New Zealand’s wood residues – The Bioenergy Association welcomes the release by Te Uru Rakau of the Wood Fibre Futures report but also wants greater focus by government on the immediate use of forest harvest and processing residues for replacing coal.

Brian Cox, Executive Officer of the Bioenergy Association said “It’s encouraging to see government supporting efforts to obtain greater value from forest harvest residues which are generally left as waste. Wood waste from forestry is a valuable resource which we squander because we don’t have a priority for using it to create regional economic opportunities, including additional employment.”

Mr Cox said that “The wood processing sector already use process residues for heat but there has been little interest in expanding the use of this proven technology to replace coal for other manufacturing process heat. Wood is a fully renewable natural resource which is carbon neutral. The Wood Fibre Futures report investigates many new investment opportunities but ignores the opportunities to grow the sector by first encouraging investment in existing proven technologies. This would provide a strong foundation for expanding additional sources of forestry residues into these new emerging investments.”

The BioenergyAssociation has identified that 1.8Mt CO2-e of greenhouse gases could be reduced if coal was replaced by use of biomass fuels.

Mr Cox said that “it is great that the Government has recognised that using wood waste to produce energy and other products is good for business and communities, and that proactive climate change policies can have a very positive upside to communities and the economy. We just need to have a greater sense of urgency by initially focusing on what can be achieved by 2030 while we investigate the longer term investments outlined in the Wood Fibre Futures report. ”

Brian Cox

Photo: Brian Cox, Executive Officer of the Bioenergy Association