Social researcher Richard Parsons is hoping goat poo from Nimbin Valley Dairy could one day power the farm’s production sheds, as a new series of workshops beginning today will investigate.
Lismore City Council is partnering with Sustain Northern Rivers and the Northern Rivers BioHubs Consortium for a series of free workshops to discuss the potential for bioenergy in the region.
Richard, the workshop facilitator, explained that bioenergy is a form of energy produced from biomass, which is material derived from plants, animals and their by-products.
Examples include sugar cane residue, livestock waste, municipal green waste, forestry residues, and plants or weeds grown for energy.
‘Progressive industries today know that they cannot exist without a so-called ‘social licence’. So the aim of these discussions is to help assess community support for prospective bioenergy projects in the Northern Rivers,’ Richard explained.
“We would like people to join us for a discussion around the potential benefits, concerns and challenges of various bioenergy technologies and energy sources. You will also have the opportunity to rate your level of support for prospective industries.
“This is about being interactive with the community and finding out how they feel about bioenergy and where it may play a role in a sustainable energy future.”
Nimbin Valley Dairy owner Paul Wilson said he’s interested in seeing if the waste from his herd of 200 goats and his excess whey from cheese-making can be used to make methane and power the dairy.
‘It’s all part of the plan for our farming system – we want to reduce the waste we are generating and reduce our electricity usage and costs,” Paul said.
‘From a farming system point of view, it’s the logical next step to turn all our excess waste into energy and then use the rest for fertiliser and compost. We want to close the loop on our farming system and make sure our farm has a minimal impact on the environment.’
Workshops will be held on:
Thursday, 15 October
Birth & Beyond, Nimbin
Tuesday, 20 October
Canvas & Kettle Room, Civic and Cultural Centre, Murwillumbah
Thursday, 22 October
North Coast Institute of TAFE, Casino
Tuesday, 27 October
North Coast Institute of TAFE, Lismore
Workshops run from 6-8pm and people are asked to please arrive by 5.45pm. To register visit www.eventbrite.com.au and search ‘Bioenergy in the Northern Rivers’. Alternatively, contact Richard Parsons at [email protected] or 0402 475 951. Attendance is free and light refreshments will be provided.