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CEFC sees key role for bioenergy in Australia’s renewable energy future

1 December 2014


Bioenergy has the potential to play a significant part in Australia’s renewable energy future, Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) CIO Ted Dow said.

Mr Dow, who addressed the Bioenergy Australia Conference 2014 in Adelaide on 1 December said the CEFC is currently focusing on introducing internationally commercially-proven technologies to the Australian market.

“Harnessing bioenergy makes good economic sense while contributing to fuel security and regional development, but for a range of reasons Australia has generally lagged the rest of the world on large and small-scale bioenergy projects particularly in the waste-to-energy sector,” he said.

Mr Dow said while bioenergy currently provides about 10 per cent of Australia’s renewable electricity, it has significant potential to develop further with the right support in place.

“CEFC finance is helping accelerate bioenergy projects that reduce energy costs, waste and carbon emissions across sectors including manufacturing, agriculture, horticulture, utilities and local government,” he said.

“While our bioenergy investments to date have focused on waste-to-energy and biogas and make up about 10 per cent or nearly $100 million of our current total portfolio, the corporation is looking to expand into other bioenergy technologies.”

The kinds of projects the CEFC can finance include converting food and meat processing waste into biogas, producing ethanol from bagasse and creating biofuels from feedstock such as sorghum, wood waste, or straw and waste biomass.

The CEFC can also finance associated or enabling infrastructure such as cogeneration facilities, storage, processing, refining, transportation, distribution and refueling infrastructure, distributed power generation solutions at individual sites as well as truck and shipping fleet upgrades and conversions to biofuel.

“We’re able to play a significant role in helping projects overcome a range of barriers by being able to structure investment terms tailored to suit the unique characteristics of a project. We work with private sector banks and share our expertise to pioneer new ways to accelerate investment in bioenergy,” Mr Dow said.

“It’s important for the right partnership to be in place to ensure successful bioenergy projects. The aligned interests of feedstock suppliers, energy off-takers, project operators and equity investors provide the framework for making a project bankable.

“Bioenergy has the potential for both domestic consumption purposes and the export market and our finance activities in this sector will help develop local industries, generate new employment opportunities and achieve emissions reductions.”

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation is an event partner for the Bioenergy Australia Conference 2014.

The conference is in its 15th year and features more than 100 speakers covering a range of issues including government policies and programs, bioenergy projects and project development case studies, technologies, R&D and commercialisation, and sustainability. Learn more about the conference at http://www.bioenergyaustralia.org/

Read more about CEFC and bioenergy