November 12 (SeeNews) - Australia has the potential to double its current bioenergy capacity in the period to 2020, according to a report by the country's Clean Energy Finance Corp (CEFC), out on Thursday.
CEFC has identified an investment opportunity in the bioenergy and energy-from-waste sector of between AUD 3.5 billion (USD 2.5bn/EUR 2.3bn) and AUD 5 billion over the next five years for around 800 MW of new capacity.
According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance data, cited in the report, Australia currently has 114 bioenergy and energy-from-waste plants with a combined capacity of 812 MW. Most are smaller than 10 MW. A further 312 MW of projects have been announced or permitted across the country.
The CEFC report says that the Australian market is underdeveloped as bioenergy technologies contribute just 0.9% of the country's electricity output, compared to an average of 2.4% for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. While not widely used in Australia, the technologies are cost competitive with other new-built energy generation, according to CEFC. The estimated investment opportunity could also avoid more than 9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions annually.
CEFC has identified three areas for focus. It sees a potential for an investment of between AUD 2.2 billion and AUD 3.3 billion to 2020 in energy from urban waste, between AUD 700 million and USD 1.1 billion in energy from food processing and animal waste, and between AUD 450 million and AUD 650 million in energy for export from plantation forest residues.
CEFC has already provided around AUD 150 million to bioenergy and enery-from-waste projects, which has catalysed AUD 280 million in private sector investment. "Our investment pipeline includes $3.5 billion of bioenergy and energy from waste projects, including projects to produce wood pellets, convert sugar cane to ethanol and to convert municipal solid waste and animal waste to energy," said CEFC head Oliver Yates.
(AUD 1.0 = USD 0.714/EUR 0.666)