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Northern Inland NSW needs cheaper power

Northern Inland NSW needs to find cheaper energy sources if we are to attract new and innovative businesses into the region according to Regional Development Australia Northern Inland Chair, Mal Peters and the recent announcement of a bio energy plant for Bindaree Beef in Inverell provides one new way.

Northern Inland NSW electricity consumers are paying around 20 percent more than our neighbours in the Hunter Valley or South East Queensland making us uncompetitive on electricity costs if we want to attract large manufacturing and processing businesses into the region.

“The recent announcement of a $23 million Federal Government grant to establish a bio digester at Bindaree Beef in Inverell is an excellent example of how businesses and residents in the region need to think innovatively to reduce their cost of power.

“The production of bioenergy (electricity, heat, gas and cooling) for business and residential use in the Northern Inland represents an outstanding regional development opportunity. It will reduce energy costs to businesses and households, generate highly-skilled, highly-paid jobs to retain youth in our region, diversify farm businesses and economic activity and reverse the flow of dollars and jobs out of our region,” Mr Peters said.

Biogas is produced from the fermentation of organic material. In our region, the organic feedstock could include purpose grown crops, abattoir wastes, commercial food wastes, poultry manure and municipal green waste. The electricity can be used on-site, for example by a large industrial user, or fed into the electricity distribution network. A typical plant would produce enough power for a town of 2500 people.

“In innovative countries such as Germany, there are over 7000 biogas plants and the opportunity for regional Australia is in establishing plants close to large consumers so the transmission cost of 18c per kilowatt hour can mitigate the marginally higher generating cost compared to coal. This is all about making sure industries in our region have a comparative advantage in relation to energy costs and access to these energy supplies,” Mr Peters concluded.

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