“We pay a tax to produce clean energy”

From The Guardian, 6 August 2020:

Laurie Brosnan is frustrated. “We pay a tax to produce clean energy,” says the pig farmer from Biloela in central Queensland.

In the past five years, his company, Bettafield Piggery, has invested millions of dollars in an advanced biogas system that not only meets all its own electricity needs, but feeds extra back into the grid. It also takes care of all the piggery’s organic waste – plus extra food waste from schools and cafes in the nearby town – and generates water for irrigation and rich compost for the fields.

Yet this family-owned and run operation is taxed at the same level as a large natural gas plant. “In Queensland, we have to pay,” Brosnan says. “We’re treated like liquid natural gas.”

Biogas is what is produced when organic matter breaks down anaerobically (without oxygen). It consists mainly of biomethane, which can be burned to generate heat and electricity, or used as a substitute for natural gas.

In 2016-2017, Australia’s 242 biogas plants – around half of which are landfills harvesting methane – generated around 1,200 gigawatt-hours of electricity, or 0.5% of the national electricity generation total, according to a report produced for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and others. But that same report concluded that biogas had the potential to deliver almost 9% of Australia’s total energy consumption. Read more.

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