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Forest Products Commission: turning plantation waste into renewable energy

20 August 2007

The Forest Products Commission (FPC) has signed a $10.5million contract to supply plantation residues to Western Australia Biomass Pty Ltd.

FPC General Manager Dr Paul Biggs said obtaining a significant buyer for this material was an important step towards increased profitability for the entire plantation forest industry. “This new agreement offers a local and environmentally sustainable solution for the use of plantation pine residues, which are presently a low value resource.”

“This is an excellent example of the FPC partnering with industry to produce a win/win for the environment and the economy.”

“After five years of joint development work between the FPC and WA Biomass, about 150,000 tonnes per year of pine residues will be converted into renewable energy.”

“The FPC is continually working with industry to minimise waste and find maximum value uses for our timbers. This new contract will help make handling of forest residue more efficient and also return direct value to the State of Western Australia,” Dr Biggs said.

WA Biomass Pty Ltd executive Adrian Rizza said the company has applied for permission to construct a 40 megawatt renewable energy power facility near Bridgetown. “WA Biomass has been developing this project for the past five years and the power facility is expected to bring capital investment of around $120million to the South West.”

“During the construction phase, which is projected to last between 18 months and two years, this new facility is expected to employ up to 300 people. We estimate another 120 new jobs will be created directly and indirectly over the life of the plant, with job security over the next 30 years.”

“In total, this is expected to increase household income in the region by around $4 to $5million per year.”

“Our company has extensive experience in renewable energy,” Mr Rizza said. “We are involved in major projects in several countries, including wind farms in South Australia, Western Australia, USA, Spain, German, Portugal and France. We are also involved in a number of other wood-waste power plants in Australia.”

 

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