25 June 2015, The Conversation, Burning wood: an opportunity for renewable power and heat: Burning some wood waste from native forests will be counted as renewable energy under revisions to the Renewable Energy Target (RET) passed this week. Environmental groups and the Greens have criticised the move as possibly encouraging the logging of native forests. Burning wood waste was included in the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act (2000). Under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Regulations 2001, harvesting native forest just for energy generation was explicitly not eligible. Until 2011 some wood waste from native forest harvesting was eligible. The latest revisions reinstate some native wood waste under the legislation with the restrictions that existed until 2011.
The RET legislates that, by 2020, 33,000 gigawatt hours of electricity must be generated by renewable energy. This includes wind, solar, hydro, tidal and various bio-energy sources. The scheme works through the creation of certificates for energy generation, and the requirement for liable entities to purchase these certificates. The latest revisions cut the RET from 41,000 GWh to 33,000 GWh and make burning wood waste from some native forest harvesting eligible for certificates under tight restrictions. However, as recognised in the relevant legislation and as shown by developments in Europe, burning wood waste from a variety of sustainable sources offers great potential as another source of renewable heat and electricity. Read More here