The Broadwater power station on the shores of Richmond River.
The Broadwater power station on the shores of Richmond River.

Power company denies sourcing timber for bioenergy plant

Cape Byron Power has responded to concerns about local forest resources being used at their plants.

The NSW Forestry Corporation has confirmed that resources from the Tarkeeth State Forest are being sold to a bioenergy plant but says it's only the residue left from harvesting operations.

"The residue is what's left over after these high value products are recovered and some of the residue is being sold to a bioenergy plant," A Forestry Corporation spokesperson said.

"Removing the residue will reduce the amount of post-harvest burning which needs to be undertaken in the forest to ensure fuel loads are kept under control and minimise the impacts and risk of fire on the local community."

RELATED: Recovering forest being used for 'bioenergy experiment'

Cape Byron Power (CBP) operates bioenergy power plants at Broadwater and Condong in the Northern Rivers region.

Logging residue from Tarkeeth is being taken to the Broadwater plant.

"We are proud to be continuing over 150 years of renewable energy generation in the Northern Rivers region," CBP's Anthony Lount said

"As a leader in responsible and sustainable biomass power generation, we take very seriously our role in environmental stewardship.

"We have never and will never, source fuel directly from native or state forests, and we stand by this."

The Broadwater power station.
The Broadwater power station.

Recently environmental groups, such as Bellingen Environment Centre, have raised concerns that some logging operations occurring in NSW are for the express purpose of providing fuel for biomass energy generators such as Cape Byron Power.

"This is simply not the case, and we have made it clear that we are more than happy to discuss these concerns with the community groups in question."

He says the Tarkeeth plantation harvesting operation is managed by various harvesting companies and government bodies, and is a process the company has no say, or involvement in.

"At times CPB has accepted fuel loads in response to community concern regarding wastage being left behind following logging operations to prevent infield burning of the materials left over after harvest of the plantation timber."

He says, however, that the vast majority of their fuel is sourced from plant fibre left over from the sugar cane harvest each year after the cane juice has been removed by the sugar mills.

"Again, we do not source fuel directly from native or state forests.

"We have been working hard with local community groups to ensure our operations meet community expectations and continue to do so."