First thermal waste-to-energy facility construction begins

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Construction of Australia’s first thermal waste-to-energy facility at Kwinana, which will generate 36MW of green electricity, has started.

The facility, named Avertas Energy, will contribute to landfill reduction by processing 400,000 tonnes of waste, equivalent to one quarter of Perth’s post-recycling rubbish. Diverting this waste from landfill will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 400,000 tonnes per year, equivalent to taking 85,000 cars off Perth’s roads.

In addition, Avertas Energy will generate and export 36MW of green electricity to the local grid per year, sufficient to power more than 50,000 households.

Scheduled to open in 2021, Avertas Energy already has 20-year waste supply agreements in place with Rivers Regional Council and the City of Kwinana, playing a role in supporting those local governments’ waste management strategies.

As the preferred supplier of baseload renewable energy, Avertas Energy will also be supporting the green energy needs of the Western Australia Local Government Association (WALGA) and its members.

Waste managed by Avertas Energy will also result in the recovery of metallic materials that will be recycled and by-products, that will be reused as construction materials.

More than 800 jobs will be created over the course of the construction period, as well as more than 60 new full-time positions once the facility is operating. Acciona, which has been appointed to build the facility, has begun engaging with local subcontractors about opportunities during construction.

Post-construction, Veolia ANZ will operate and maintain the facility for 25 years.

Premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan, said, “Western Australia is at the forefront of new technologies for the management of waste and the reliable generation of new sources of energy.

“Pressure on landfill is a concern for communities around the world and Western Australia is taking a leadership position in Australia by embracing new methods and technologies that can sit alongside other strategies for managing waste over the long term.”

Federal Minister for the Environment, Melissa Price, “This project means waste that would otherwise go to landfill is converted to energy, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and improving the stability of the grid.

“It also avoids more harmful methane emissions that add to our overall greenhouse gas emissions, and the Federal Government was pleased to support this project with a $23 million grant and up to $90 million in debt finance.”

Frank Smith, CEO of Avertas Energy, said, “This facility represents a significant opportunity to reduce pressure on landfill capacity and create a new and reliable source of green power.”

2 Comments
  1. Jane Bremmer 2 weeks ago

    Clearly the Federal Minister for the Environment is not aware of the basics in relation to this project or waste management in general. Methane emissions in landfill are generated by organic waste. WA now has a 3 bin system to separate food waste and green organics so that it can be composted and diverted from landfill. The claims about waste incineration reducing methane emissions are therefore incorrect because the only waste going to this incinerator is residual waste which is comprised of mostly non recyclable plastics – a fossil fuel. That’s why waste incineration emits more ghg’s and toxic air pollutants than coal, oil and gas. What a shame the WA premier would, just one day after his government released their new Climate Policy to reduce carbon emissions from industrial sources, which listed waste to energy incinerators as a key climate polluter, only to turn the sod on a project that will emit 400 000 tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere and create 100 000 tonnes of toxic ash every year. This project is the most expensive and polluting way to manage the smallest fraction of our waste stream. A dark day for WA. We need sustainable zero waste policy and a circular agenda.

  2. Adam 1 week ago

    Thermal waste-to-energy is neither green, nor renewable. It works near the lowest level of the waste hierarchy (refuse/avoid, reduce, reuse, recycle, down-cycle, waste-to-energy, landfill) and is reliant on our population maintaining an overly consumerist lifestyle that will provide the necessary feedstock for incineration. So much for the ‘towards zero waste’ policy.

    While it will result in a reduction of the volume of waste to landfill, and therefore a reduction in landfill emissions (which will usually have been already partially mitigated through flaring or landfill gas (methane) capture and conversion to electricity), the new facility will itself produce significantly more carbon emissions than the biological digestion of waste in a landfill and potentially emissions of other gasses, depending on the composition of the feedstock and the quality of their downstream exhaust gas scrubbing technology.

    This also not new technology. Thermal waste-to energy has been used across Europe, North America and Japan for many decades.

    I dream of a future where the community does not generate enough feed stock material to keep the plant running.

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