QLD Govt to make the state a 'Biofutures Hub'
The Queensland Minister for State Development, Natural Resources and Mines, Dr Anthony Lynham said the funds complement the State’s biofutures 10 year roadmap and action plan.
Dr Lynham added the new funding stands alongside their mandate on biofuels, which was announced in late 2015, which means that ethanol-blended E10 fuel will have to make up at least 30 percent of petrol available for sale in Queensland from January 2017.
Dr Lynham said the industry already had ‘runs on the board’ and this would make a real difference.
‘We have the confidence that this sector is a powerful sector. It employs 120 people, we just have to grow it,’ Dr Lynham said.
‘Governments over time have tried to pick winners and it’s been difficult at times, this sector is already there as a winner and we just have to push it through.’
Dr Lynham said it was already a $100 million industry.
‘We produce 160 million litres of biofuel right now and we employ 120 people and in 10 years we’re going to growth this to a $1 billion industry and we want to see lessening dependence on overseas fuel,’ he said.
Ethanol mandate needs to be raised
Gavin Hughes, the Chief Executive Officer of United Biofuels, the company that owns the Dalby Biorefinery, said while funding was welcome, the industry had a long way to go. Gavin is the former head of Biofuels Australia and he said that in order to create an incentive there needed to be a higher mandate and over-arching policy framework. ‘Until we get a minimum of 5% [mandate], we’re not actually sending real signals to the industry for future investment,’ Mr Hughes said. ‘We need to see signals that the future is actually much higher than 5% if these sorts of investments are really going to pay their way. ‘When you do the numbers which say in legislation we’ve got a 4% mandated position for hte state, well then that only supports what the current investment already is.’
Biofuels mandate powers sustainable future
The Queensland Parliament has passed legislation requiring requiring fuel sellers to meet targets for the sale of ethanol-blended petrol and bio-based diesel.
Minister for Energy and Water Supply Mark Bailey said the mandates established under the Liquid Fuel Supply (Ethanol and Other Biofuels Mandate) Amendment Act 2015 would help Queensland transition to a clean energy economy, growth the biofuels and bio-manufacturing sectors and boost jobs across the industry, especially in regional Queensland.
‘The Bill passed by Parliament includes an initial three percent ethanol mandate for petrol and a half per cent bio-based diesel mandate with both due to start on 1 January 2017,’ Mr Bailey said. ‘These mandates will stimulate economic growth and jobs and encourage investment in the biofuels and bio-manufacturing industries, while maintaining consumer choice. ‘In practical terms the mandate will require E10 to make up 30 percent of regular petrol sales in Queensland in 2017.’
A joint Deloitte Access Economics/QUT study predicts bio-refining in all its forms could contribute more than $1.8 billion in gross state product to Queensland and create up to 6,640 jobs over the next 20 years.
‘New types of bio-based fuels that may be developed in the future will also count toward the mandate, further helping to stimulate investment and innovations in Queensland’s biotechnology sector,’ he said. ‘That will diversify our economy, help create regional jobs and new high value knowledge- intensive industries. ‘Regular unleaded petrol will still be available for those who can’t or don’t want to use ethanol fuels.’
Mr Bailey said the Queensland Government would undertake a comprehensive public education campaign ahead of the mandate’s planned commencement. ‘We want to ensure that motorists understand their fuel choices and the benefits provided by biofuels such as ethanol, and that industry also understands its role,’ Mr Bailey said.