Biomass - clean green energy by alendar


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									   Does Biomass mean Clean,
                                                                                                                The logging industry defines as waste any tree
                                                                                                                that is too old, too young, or the wrong species
                                                                                                                to make timber out of.

        Green Energ y?
                                                                                                                The forests in NSW have been over cut for
                                                                                                                so long that almost all the trees left in the
                                                                                                                forest were either too old to be worth logging a
                                                                                                                hundred years ago, or are the wrong species, or
By Daniel Beaver                                    energy,” including biomass.                                 are still too young. In other words our forests
                                                                                                                are overflowing with waste.
In August last year the Clean Green Energy Biomass, as a term, simply refers to the process
Company was set up to build and run three of producing electricity from burning organic With the woodchip market in severe decline due
100% wood fired power stations in NSW.           matter (living things).                         to cheaper better quality chips from plantations
                                                                                                 in South America and South East Asia, the
The Clean Green Energy Company said these Interestingly the entire 2% target could be logging industry is in desperately need of a new
power stations, would be great for the rural achieved by burning native forests, leaving new market to sell “forest waste”.
communities in and around Grafton, Bulahdelah, investment in genuine renewable energy sources
and Moruya, great for the logging industry and like solar and wind out of the picture.           This is because loggers rely on the income they
great for the environment. A win, win project                                                    get from selling “waste” trees to make it worth
on all fronts!                                   Immediately following the act over a dozen new while to scour the forest for the last remaining
                                                 proposals sprung up in Queensland, New South “good quality” trees. Without a market for
They will provide jobs. They will provide Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. One of the NSW “waste” industrial logging as we know it would
another market beside “woodchips” for the projects has just received a one million dollar not be possible.
“waste” produced by the logging industry and grant from the NSW government.
will reduce carbon dioxide emissions.                                                            The next 12 months will decide which direction
                                                 The 100% wood fired power stations proposed the Australian energy generation (and hence the
They are about to be fast tracked for approval by the clean green energy company will each Australian logging industry) heads in. Will we
by the NSW government. So at great risk to my consume 280 000 tones of wood (trees) each continue the path to sustainability? Or will
sanity I braved the propaganda swarm to try to year and produce 5 times as much carbon we submit to the logging industry’s vision of
find out what was really going on.               dioxide as a coal fired power station producing burning our forests for electricity?
                                                 the same amount of energy.
In NSW the state government has facilitated                                                      With a federal election pending there is a small
the burning of native forests for electricity by This 280 000 tons will come from “waste from window of opportunity to nip this nasty new
amending the Electricity Supply Act in 1999. sustainably managed native forests.”                industry in the bud.

Since then Macquarie Generation, one of the         However the NSW logging industry fails to                   Otherwise it is not inconceivable that in 12
nation’s largest coal-fired power stations has      comply with the expert scientific committees                months time when you turn on your lights,
been conducting a trial using 170,000 tons          recommendations for ecologically sustainable                you will be burning the home of a threatened
wood. Recently they reduced their use to            forest management.                                          species.
around 20,000 tones per year due to a range of
problems.                                       Indeed, according to the best available scientific              Biomass has been endorsed as a statewide
                                                data 77 different animal species are expected to                student campaign for 2001. To stay up to date
Engineering consultant Peter Barnes says that become extinct on the North Coast alone, due to                   with what is happening with this issue contact
“Burning wood is an extremely inefficient way over logging and ongoing habitat destruction.                     your environment collective, you’ll find them at
of producing electricity. Wood has a high water                                                                 the SRC.
content, it produces water vapor as it burns, These animals include:
this absorbs a significant amount of heat. So                                                                   Or check out
you have to burn a hell of a lot more wood to Nocturnal Birds:            Superb Fruit-Dove,
                                                Barking Owl,              Superb Lyrebird
produce the same amount of power as say coal,
                                                Bush Stone-curlew,        (edwardsii),
or gas.”                                        Masked Owl,               Swift Parrot,
                                                    Powerful Owl,                  Turquoise Parrot,
“If you’re building a coal, oil, or gas power                                      White-eared Monarch.
station which will produce many thousands           Diurnal Birds:
of mega watts of electricity you can afford         Albert’s Lyrebird,             Arboreal Mammals:
                                                    Black-breasted Button-quail,
to incorporate a variety of technologies which      Black-necked Stork,            Squirrel Glider,
greatly increase the efficiency of the operation.   Brush Bronzewing,              Yellow-bellied Glider
Compare this to a 100% wood fired power             Double-eyed Fig-Parrot,
station, with a total energy production capacity    Eastern Bristlebird,           Terrestrial Mammals:
of only 30 mega watts per year. You just            Forest Kingfisher,
                                                    Hooded Robin,                  Black-striped Wallaby,
can’t justify the cost of installing the kind       Mangrove Honeyeater,           Broad-toothed Rat,
of equipment necessary to produce electricity       Musk Lorikeet,                 Brush-tailed Phascogale,
efficiently from a combustion process.”             Olive Whistler,                Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby,
                                                    Osprey,                        Dingo,
At the end of last year the commonwealth            Pacific Baza,                  Eastern Chestnut Mouse,
                                                    Painted Honeyeater,            Hastings River Mouse,
government got in on the act too passing the        Red Goshawk,                   Long-nosed Potoroo,
Renewable Energy (Electricity) Bill 2000.           Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo,     Parma Wallaby,
                                                    Regent Honeyeater,             Red-legged Pademelon,
The intent of the bill is to ensure an additional   Rufous Scrub-bird,             Rufous Bettong,
2% of Australia’s energy is produced from           Square-tailed Kite,            Tiger Quoll.
renewable sources by 2010. It will provide Plus 8 frog species, 10 reptile species, 4 turtles
subsidies to companies investing in “renewable and 13 bats.

 TERTANGALA                                                                                                                                                 23

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