Shire an energy leader

THE Glenelg Shire has been identified as a future leader of green energy investment with the Green Triangle region labelled a “biomass central”.

The region’s renewable resource potential was highlighted at this month’s Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast Bioenergy seminar in Mount Gambier.

Calls were made for the creation of a biohub allowing the region to better utilise rich renewable biomass sources.

The council engaged with key speakers, including Biohub specialist Mark Glover.

Mr Glover highlighted the region had a strategic advantage due to its timber assets being 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 currently investigating regional investment opportunities.

Ms McKenzie said this included the construction of 10 refineries and stated the global demand for biodiesel was set to soar over the next decade due aviation and maritime sectors developing new strict carbon emission targets.

Glenelg Shire Mayor Anita Rank said the shire was well-placed to benefit from these emerging markets.

“Council is also exploring options to use such technologies to cut energy costs and reduce carbon emissions from its civic precinct,” Cr Rank said.

Council plans to upgrade Portland’s ageing geothermal loop using sustainable energy generation such as woodchip biomass.

Council has engaged consultants Rainbow Beeeater, which recently launched a carbon capture and storage renewable energy plant in Tantanoola.

The plant supplies power to fuel Holla-Fresh’s greenhouse operations while creating the by-product biochar, used for composting.

Cr Rank said such circular bioeconomies 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,” she said.

“It is clear the country will soon be relying on it as a major source of energy.

“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, we will be well-placed to be the next leaders in the field.”