Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Mill waste to go to landfill

26 Sep 2011, Page: 4

CHANGES to renewable energy rules that ban native timber from attracting credits under the carbon tax regime will result in waste from a central NSW sawmill being dumped at a tip instead of burned for renewable electricity generation. Boral Timber said the changes to the treatment of mill wood waste from native forest sawlogs "results in very poor environmental outcomes for our business".

In a letter to federal Liberal member for Wannon, Dan Tehan, executive general manager Bryan Tisher says the proposed changes in the Renewable Energy Certificate scheme as part of the carbon package will result in the waste being sent to landfills, where it will produce methane emissions. Methane emissions are considered more dangerous than CO₂ emissions. He said the waste had been sent to a cogeneration facility at Condong, NSW, but the withdrawal of native sawlogs from the program would make that unviable. "We will no longer be able to send our fibre to cogeneration facilities" as these facilities required RECs. "This legislative change inhibit important bioenergy investments that Boral Timber was investigating at its Herons Creek timber mill, near Port Macquarie", he said.

Opposition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt said the issue was a classic example of confusion resulting from the carbon tax. "Emissions will go up rather than down. Material that would have been used will now be wasted", he said. "Even Sir Humphrey would be proud". A spokesman for Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said the RET regulations would be amended so that wood waste from native forest would no longer be eligible to create Renewable Energy Certificates. However, all biomass combustion had been excluded from the carbon price in section 30 of the Clean Energy Bill and there would be transitional arrangements for existing accredited power stations.