Sugar industry ready to power renewable energy future

CANEGROWERS has welcomed today’s announcement by the State Government of a 10-year Energy and Jobs Plan that could see Queensland’s sugar industry become one of the state’s largest suppliers of renewable energy.

The $62 billion plan includes a $4 million investment to ‘work with industry to investigate options and pathways to expand generation from underutilised biomass waste streams and support technology innovation’.

This, the Plan says, will support industries, such as the sugarcane industry, to modernise bioenergy generation and use waste products for bioenergy production.

CANEGROWERS Chairman Owen Menkens said the industry was perfectly positioned to become a major player in the state’s renewable energy future.

“The sugar industry is already powering regional communities in the Tableland, Burdekin and Mackay with clean, renewable energy, but there is a capacity to dramatically increase the power output of our mills to help Queensland reach the ambitious targets set out by the government,” Mr Menkens said.

“CANEGROWERS is supportive of any programs that either assist, or at the very least incentivise, mills to upgrade their boilers and power-generation infrastructure to improve efficiencies in co-generation and allow more power to be released onto the grid.

“This is not only good for the environment, it’s also good for the energy market, good for consumers, and it makes our mills more efficient which is good for the industry.”

A recent report by the Australian Sugar Milling Council found that Queensland’s milling sector had the capacity to almost quadruple its current generation from bagasse from 438MW to 1,736MW.

This could see the industry exporting up to 7,588 gigawatt hours of energy a year – around 10% of Queensland’s current electricity generation.

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