There is a proposal to reopen the old coal-fired Redbank power station near Singleton and fuel it with wood from forests all over NSW instead of coal.
The power station will require almost one million tonnes of wood a year. This is more than the all the wood harvested by Forestry Corporation in its logging operations across NSW.
If approved, demand for wood to burn in the Redbank power station will trigger the logging of thousands of hectares of our native forests each year and drive up deforestation rates around the state.
Redbank will provide a market for pulp logs — small and “defective” trees unsuitable for sawlogs. These would otherwise would not be logged, but will instead be harvested, woodchipped and burnt for biofuel providing incentive to clear everything in the forest. This will worsen the impacts of logging and the consequences for biodiversity. A lot of this material will be sourced from highly unregulated private native forestry.
The negative impacts on biodiversity will be massive. Logging and chipping to fuel the power station will pillage forests on the north and south coasts within a 400km radius of the power station. It will trigger the logging of thousands of hectares of our native forests each year. It would be an absolute disaster for nature.
Biomass is wrongly portrayed as a "green", net-zero emissions energy source. The carbon accounting used to come to this conclusion is deeply flawed. Wood biomass can actually emit up to 50% more CO2 than coal when burnt, yet carbon accounting used by the proponent classes it as zero carbon because trees absorb CO2 when they grow. The overall climate impact is arguably worse than coal.
The Nature Conservation Council is committed to stopping this proposal.