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MEDIA RELEASE - Glenelg explores bioeconomy

12 December 2018

The Green Triangle region has been labelled ‘biomass central’ by industry experts at a recent bioenergy seminar, with the Glenelg Shire being earmarked as a future leader of green energy investment.

The region’s renewable resource potential was highlighted last week at Regional Development Australia’s (RDA) Limestone Coast Bioenergy seminar in Mt Gambier where calls were made for the creation of a ‘biohub’ for the region to better utilise rich renewable biomass sources, such as wood waste and agricultural deposits.

Council engaged with key speakers including Mark Glover, a specialist in Biohub collaborations, who highlighted the region had a district strategic advantage over other areas because of its vast timber assets, which are the largest in the nation.

He stated there were ‘huge opportunities’ to enter into a regional bioeconomy with the potential to create new jobs and circular economies.

Bioenergy Australia chief executive officer Shahana McKenzie shared this sentiment, citing eight international developers were currently investigating regional investment opportunities, including the construction of 10 refineries.

Ms McKenzie stated global demand for biodiesel was set to soar over the next decade as the aviation and maritime sectors set out to achieve new strict carbon emission targets.

Glenelg Shire Mayor Cr Anita Rank said the shire was well-placed to benefit from these emerging markets, meeting key objectives of the Portland Future’s Plan, a strategy for attracting renewable investment.

She said council was also exploring options to use such technologies to cut energy costs and reduce carbon emissions from its civic precinct.

Council plans to upgrade Portland’s ageing geothermal loop using sustainable energy generation such as woodchip biomass.
Council has engaged consultants Rainbow Bee-eater who recently launched a carbon capture and storage renewable energy plant in Tantanoola, supplying power to fuel Holla-Fresh’s greenhouse operations to grow its herbs whilst creating a by-product of biochar, used for composting.

Cr Rank said such circular bioeconomy’s were the future of the renewable sector.

“A key learning for our region is that we must work together, council, business and industry, to benefit from this emerging market as it is clear the country will soon be relying on it as a major source of energy,” she said.

“As a council we are working tirelessly, advocating and meeting with industry and government leaders to ensure this region is front and centre in the minds of the key playmakers in the field. This is our next industrial revolution and if we continue the hard work, and work in conjunction with our neighbours, will be well-placed to be the next leaders in the field.”

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