Plantation waste in the spotlight

6 March, 2017

Is there a way to use plantation residue to generate energy for a local business or community facility?

This is the question being asked as part of the Alpine Shire Plantation Waste to Energy Project.

Alpine Shire Council has received a Victorian Government Climate Change Grant to assess the potential, and develop a business case for the use of plantation residue to generate heat and energy for a business or community facility in the Alpine Shire.

Council’s Manager Planning and Amenity Heather Green said Council is working in partnership with HVP Plantations to answer the question ‘is it viable for a business or facility to use plantation waste to generate energy?’

“Currently HVP burns post-harvest plantation residue on site. The energy created through post-harvest burning is released directly into the atmosphere,” she said.

“This project will generate the knowledge we need to understand if there is potential to make use of plantation residue to generate energy.”

Plantation residue includes the branches and offcuts from harvesting operations, and when large quantities are concentrated in an area, they are often burnt on site as removal from the site is unviable.

Burning off of plantation residue near communities can cause localised air pollution problems.

“We are aware that there have been concerns in the community about burning off plantation harvesting residues,” Ms Green said.

“This project is a way that Council can help lower overall shire carbon emissions while addressing a concern in the community.”

HVP Northern Region Silviculture Manager Richard Mailer welcomed the project as a way to explore the possibility of reducing the environmental impact of plantation residue management.

“HVP is very keen to explore other options for using the residue created from harvesting operations,” he said. For more information or to share your views contact Council’s Project Officer Michelle Kent on 5755 0555.

The Victorian Government Climate Change Grants in 2015 were designed to support local government in adapting to climate change. They aim to drive local climate change action including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making effective and innovative decisions on how to increase resilience of services and assets.

The Victorian Government has also introduced a wide-ranging emissions reduction pledge program for the private, government and community sectors.

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