The opportunity to produce renewable energy and renewable timber side-by-side is one step closer in NSW, with energy providers being asked to formally register their interest in new renewable energy projects in State forest softwood (pine) timber plantations. Source: Timberbiz
Forestry Corporation CEO Anshul Chaudhary said the Registration of Interest (ROI) process followed the passage of legislation last year to enable clean energy developments to be established in State forest pine plantations for the first time.
“Producing renewable energy and renewable timber side-by-side on the softwood plantation estate is an exciting prospect and one that we are very interested in exploring,” Mr Chaudhary said.
“Wind farms successfully operate in softwood forests overseas and we have received a number of unsolicited proposals for a range of renewable technologies here in NSW, so anecdotally we believe there is strong interest. We are now commencing a formal process to identify who might submit a proposal and where renewable energy projects might be feasible.
“There are around 225,000 hectares of State forest pine plantations in NSW, including many near existing energy infrastructure, so there is a lot of potential, but we are specifically interested in opportunities that are compatible with our activities to produce renewable timber, provide community access, manage fire and maintain sustainable forest management.
“Our State-owned pine plantations produce enough renewable timber to build around 35,000 homes a year and will continue to do so while also producing renewable energy to power those homes.
“There are very strict limits on the scale of any renewable generation infrastructure as well as a requirement to offset any plantation land used for energy projects, to ensure the area of public land dedicated to growing pine plantations for our future timber needs is not diminished.
“The ROI brings us one step closer to the possibility of renewable energy infrastructure in State forest pine plantations by starting a dialogue to identify feasible opportunities that complement ongoing renewable timber production and forest management.
“If any suitable opportunities are identified, like any other development, normal planning applications and approval would be required. This includes consideration of the environmental impact, noise, landscape and visual impacts, traffic and transport issues, hazard and risks, heritage, water and soil impacts, waste management and community consultation.”
For more information about the ROI or to register interest, visit www.forestrycorporation.com.au