Changes to the federal government’s MRET (Mandatory Renewable Energy Target) legislation in 2009 mean that companies can now accrue Renewable Energy Certificates by burning native forest wood as power.
The first application for a 5MW wood-fired power plant by South East Forest Exports (SEFE nee Diashowa woodchip mill), at Eden, is now before the NSW state government. If approved, the plant will accrue Renewable Energy Certificates for producing energy from the cutting down and burning of our native forests – the planet’s lungs and climate moderators! SEFE currently takes about half of its woodchips from cutting down East Gippsland’s forests.
The proposed Eden power plant is a test case for many other such proposals around the country. There are already a number of plans in Tasmania and one in Orbost. As many as 20 plants are on the drawing board. A 5MW power station is relatively small but once the foot is in the door, it can expand its capacity.
Our very own promoters of a wood-furnace for Orbost are Liberal MP Philip Davis and long time stump-hugger Garry Squires. They have recently been spruiking the benefits of burning our forests for power.