Bioenergy Australia report deems renewable fuels essential for decarbonisation
Australia will be exposed to environmental, economic and energy security risks if governments fail to foster a domestic renewable fuels sector warns peak body
A new report commissioned by Bioenergy Australia, Transitioning Australia’s Liquid Fuel Sector: The Role of Renewable Fuels, says the immense task of decarbonising Australia’s economy will be made even more difficult without the urgent development and deployment of the liquid renewable fuels. The nation’s transport, mining, agriculture and construction sectors - sectors that contribute close to half of Australia’s energy consumption in liquid fuels - require these renewable fuels to lower emissions.
The report also warns of a missed economic opportunity that is well and truly being grasped by other nations, with Australia’s bioenergy roadmap claiming that $10 billion in GDP per annum could be added over the next decade with the development of a mature bioenergy sector, along with 26,200 new jobs.
The report shows 45% of Australia’s total energy use comes from liquid fuels, providing the following opportunities:
- Replacing just 6% of petrol with bioethanol, based on targets, would be the equivalent of taking 730,000 vehicles off the road.
- Replacing 2% of diesel with biodiesel or renewable diesel, based on current targets, would be the equivalent of taking 29,000 rigid trucks off the road.
- Replacing 10% of jet fuel with Sustainable Aviation Fuel, based on airline targets, would be the equivalent of around 220 million less kms flown annually by a Boeing 747.
Bioenergy Australia CEO Shahana McKenzie says renewable fuels are the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to emissions reduction in Australia.
“While electrification is essential for significant pillars of the energy system it is only part of the answer to reducing emissions. Australia’s economy is reliant on liquid fuels, our heavy industries, aviation, marine, agriculture, and mining need affordable and immediate decarbonisation options,” Ms McKenzie said.
“Renewable fuel is their answer. We just need to provide it, affordably and at scale.”
The report says global investment in liquid renewable fuels more than double in 2021, reaching approximately US$8 billion. But it remains clear that Australia is lagging behind countries like the US, UK, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Sweden and New Zealand.
The report showcases how a thriving renewable fuel industry would turbocharge regional development, improve waste management, boost export growth and promote domestic fuel security.
“Without a domestic renewable fuels sector, Australia is exposing itself to the world’s next energy supply shock and the higher prices that would accompany such a crisis,’’ Ms McKenzie said.
Without adequate government support, the report concludes, an Australian renewable fuels industry may fail to materialise, ensuring Australia’s transport, mining, agriculture and construction sectors will continue to depend on incumbent fossil fuels, leading to continued greenhouse gas emissions.