13.2 C
Byron Shire
July 7, 2022

Trees to replace coal for energy under guise of sustainability?

Latest News

Value of the intangible and Suffolk Parks future

It’s hard to know what value to place on the environment – until it changes irrevocably.  A place is defined...

Other News

Will Byron become the Malibu of the antipodes?

Here’s another reason for millennials to be marching on the street. We found out last week that on census day 2021, 15 per cent of the dwellings in the Byron Shire were unoccupied (2,348 places to be precise). That figure was 30 per cent in Byron Bay itself, three times the national average. 

Commonwealth needs to step in to save endangered wildlife

According to the North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) the Commonwealth must intervene to save greater glider, the koala and the yellow-bellied glider from extinction.

Council advertising

Thanks Council, for the advertisement on page 5 letting us know that you co-hosted a conference. It is good...

Sport and gender

Olympic golden girl Cate Campbell claims to have wrestled long and hard with herself before passionately promoting a ban...

The wetlands questions for the new Council

The Northern Regional Planning Panel (NRPP) recently gave a determination for a Bioenergy Facility to be built within the...

Road workers strike first time in decades

Road workers, construction crews and other Transport for NSW workers will walk off the job for the first time in decades on Thursday, as frustrations over the NSW Government's effective pay cut boil over.

Redbank power plant proposed to be rebooted with a million tonnes of forest biomass. Photo supplied

The rejection of the recommendation to NSW government to ‘declassify forest biomass as a form of renewable energy and ensure it’s not eligible for renewable energy credits’ has left the door open for forests in north-east NSW to be used as biomass for renewable energy say conservation groups. 

The recent NSW parliamentary inquiry into ‘Sustainability of energy supply and resources in New South Wales’ found the burning of forest biomass for power generation is ‘not economically or environmentally sustainable, and it generates significant carbon emissions’. Dailan Pugh from North East Forest Alliance (NFEA) said that ‘On Monday the NSW Government showed its disregard for both climate heating and koalas by dismissing the committee’s recommendations on the grounds that they think it’s fine to burn native forests as long as some sawlogs are also removed.

‘This opens up north-east NSWs forests, one of the world’s centres of both species diversity and endemism, for woodchipping on the scale of the Eden forests, where over 90 per cent of the trees are logged for woodchips,’ Mr Pugh said.

‘This is contrary to the Government’s claims of moving to net zero carbon and doubling koala populations, burning native forests for electricity puts us and Koalas on an extinction trajectory.’

Trees not renewable energy  

‘This is particularly distressing as several companies are currently vying to use our native forests to replace coal for generating electricity,’ said North Coast Environment Council spokesperson Susie Russell.

‘Verdant Earth Technologies want to restart the mothballed Redbank power station near Singleton. It will burn over a million tonnes of wood a year, most of it from native forests, and Sweetman Renewables claim to have inked a contract to export native forest woodchips to Japan to be burnt for electricity generation.

Update: The Echo has been informed by Verdant Earth Technologies that they have no agreements to secure future wood supply contracts from Sweetman’s Renewables or any of its subsidiaries and that they not planning to burn over a million tonnes of wood a year, most of it from native forests.

‘Burning trees for electricity is more polluting than coal, and pretending it’s renewable energy with no carbon emissions is a frighteningly dangerous fallacy.

‘We are in a climate emergency, at current rates of emissions within eight years we will have burnt through our carbon budget and have no chance of limiting global warming to 1.5C. We need to start reducing our emissions right now, by transitioning to genuine renewables with no carbon emissions. We need to stop burning stuff for electricity generation.

‘It’s essential to leave our forests standing so that they can go on taking carbon out of the atmosphere and help clean up our mess.

‘By supporting business as usual logging and dismissing the Inquiry’s recommendations, the Government has missed yet another opportunity to lower emissions, support genuine renewables and stop the decline of koalas to extinction,’ Ms Russell said.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. The vandalism perpetrated under the Baird/Berejiklian/Perrottet NSW Administrrtion continues on. They have no shame. A pity that last Saturday was only a ‘Super Saturday’ by-election show. A NSW State election can’t come quick enough.

  2. Forest biomass is a form of renewable energy fundamentally so.

    The issue of sustainability revolves around how much one harvests in a given timeframe.

    The self-proclaimed environmentalists need to stop trying to say wood is not renewable, when clearly it is, and start engaging with the issue of reducing demand for energy. This needs to start with leading by example, universally

  3. What a profound and deadly disgrace. Whoever is responsible needs to be sacked and face charges, because biomass is a crime against humanity and the environment.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Where is the love?

I have lived in Mullum and the surrounding hills for 35 years.  Yesterday I drove to Upper Main Arm, to Kohinur, to visit a friend,...

Flood help information from Chinderah, and Uki to South Golden Beach

The floods in February and March are still having direct impacts on the lives of many people and Serice NSW has a trailer coming to a location near you so you can easily access flood assistance.

Weaving through NAIDOC

DJ and Delta with some of the Weaving for Reconciliation exhibits. Photo Jeff Dawson.

Management of Byron’s fragile coastline impeded by NSW government: report

Insufficient funding and guidance from the State government is inhibiting Byron Council’s attempt to effectively manage its famous but fragile coastline, a Council report has revealed.