Australia’s biofuels policies by state
The BAA envisages that one day, all liquid transport fuel in Australia will be derived from biofuels. While unleaded remains the most popular fuel choice though, the presence of biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel at service stations must be mandated to give consumers the choice of filling their car with a sustainable product.
The biofuels industry in Australia is currently fractured and complex, with each state having its own policy positions.
New South Wales
Demand for ethanol in NSW has been underpinned by the Biofuels Act 2007 which legislated that by 2011 the volume of ethanol sold was not to be less than 6% of the total volume of all petrol sold in the state. Once fully implemented, a demand for about 350ML of Ethanol should be realised. Initially, the act called for the substitution of all RULP sales with E10, but this requirement was removed by the Biofuels Amendment Bill of 2012.
Unfortunately, the targets set out by the Biofuels Act have not been reached as yet and provisions under the act allowing for exemptions have been exploited by fuel industry participants.
In July 2013, the NSW government appointed an expert panel to advise them as to how they may be able to lift the blend percentage to the target 6% level.
The BAA is continuing to work with the NSW government as a member of the expert panel to ensure compliance with the current mandates is lifted and to increase their reach in the future. For more information on biofuel regulations in NSW, please visit www.resourcesandenergy.nsw.gov.au
The Queensland state government announced on 23 April 2015 that it would be exploring the state’s biofuels potential as it puts Queensland on the path to a clean energy future. This is a positive first step in mandating biofuel use in the state, and one that the BAA supports.
Originally, an ethanol mandate of 5% in all unleaded regular petrol was due to be implemented from 1st January 2011 – but uncertainty around the federal excise regime postponed this move and a bill to mandate the use of ethanol was rejected in October 2014.
The Queensland government have just commenced a consultation process with the release of a discussion paper on the implementation of a mandate for Queensland. This discussion paper can be found by clicking here.
A mandate on biofuels was dismissed by a report by the Victorian government’s Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee. E10 and E85 fuels are available at various petrol stations around the state however. United Petroleum recently became the official fuel supplier to the V8 supercars and offers both E10 and E85 at many of their service stations across the state. For a list of stations supplying E85, click here.
The South Australian government introduced a low vehicle emissions strategy in 2012.
In the strategy document, the government commits to increasing the uptake of low emission vehicles in the state. Already, 50% of government vehicles have been converted to lower emission fuels and the Adelaide Metro diesel bus fleet has operated on a biodiesel blend (5% biodiesel, with some vehicles moving to B20) since 2005.
The South Australian government has identified three main ways to reduce vehicle emissions:
- Improving fuel efficiency
- Using lower emission fuels, including biofuels, and
- Encouraging use of electrified drive trains
The government accepts that creating an emissions-neutral transport system will involve a transition to low emission energy sources such as biofuels, and through its strategy hopes to pave the way for this to occur. The strategy reports that the state government will work towards increasing the proportion of fuel sourced from renewables and low emission fuels. But while increased use of biofuels is facilitated from the top, and while these fuels are becoming more widely available, as yet, the state government has not moved towards mandating biofuels.
Instead, the government will actively work towards encouraging use of renewable fuels, by, among other things, supporting research, development and commercialization in the sector, and keeping the public informed as to the types of fuels available and the benefits of biofuels and other low emission fuels.
You can read the full Low Emission Vehicle Strategy 2012-2016 here.
The Western Australian Biofuels Taskforce recommended that the state government pursue an ethanol mandate this has yet to be manifested in policy. Since 2012 however, ethanol fuels have been retailed in the state with United Petroleum leading the charge.
The BAA is working with representatives of all levels of government to develop policies that will ensure the growth of biofuels use within the community. Changes to state legislation will be updated here, so please check back regularly.