08/01/2019 - 16:08

Second waste to power plant closing on construction

08/01/2019 - 16:08

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Proponents of a $400 million waste to energy facility to be built in East Rockingham are hoping to get construction under way within months after finalising a waste supply deal with utilities giant Suez.

Second waste to power plant closing on construction
Waste to energy provides green, baseload power.

Proponents of a $400 million waste to energy facility to be built in East Rockingham are hoping to get construction under way within months after finalising a waste supply deal with utilities giant Suez.

Business News revealed in November that the consortium behind the project, which includes Hitachi Zosen Inova, New Energy Corporation and Tribe Infrastructure, was working on waste deals with Suez and Water Corporation.

That came after the City of Cockburn agreed to supply 27,000 tonnes annually to the plant, roughly 8 per cent of capacity, while previous deals included with local governments in the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council district.

Tribe director Raj Aggarwal said everything was coming together for the project, which would become the second waste to energy facility under construction in Perth.

“The project’s going really well, we started our expression of interest phase towards the end of last year,” he said.

“We’re pushing towards getting financial close by March, right now it seems everything is on track.”

Hitachi Zosen Inova has already been picked as construction contractor, while Suez will reportedly operate the plant.

One benefit of being the second such facility, following the $668 million Macquarie Capital plant in Kwinana which commenced construction last year, was that there was greater clarity of the path for approvals, Mr Aggarwal said.

There are some advantages for waste to energy power in WA, and some challenges to overcome.

Using fuel that might otherwise go to landfill means it is considered a greener energy source, yet unlike solar and wind, waste to energy can support baseload power supply.

Backers of the Kwinana facility encountered some complications on that front in October, when the government asked the Environmental Protection Authority to review its definition of residual waste.

Another challenge is finding someone to take the power, with lots of new generation entering a market which is already oversupplied.

However, there are ample organisations willing to pay someone to take the waste, with other countries becoming unwilling to do so.

An example is China, which opted to ban almost all recycleable waste intake in 2018.

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