08/10/2008 - 22:00

Waste sector recognises landfill emissions role

08/10/2008 - 22:00

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THE waste sector has thrown its support behind the inclusion of waste emissions in the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, saying it will set a price signal to encourage economically and environmentally efficient solutions in waste reduction, recycling, wa

Waste sector recognises landfill emissions role

THE waste sector has thrown its support behind the inclusion of waste emissions in the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, saying it will set a price signal to encourage economically and environmentally efficient solutions in waste reduction, recycling, waste diversion and resource recovery.

While the waste sector makes up about 3 per cent of the nation's carbon emissions, methane gas is almost 23 times worse than carbon dioxide as an agent contributing to global warming.

According to the federal government's green paper, facilities with more than 25,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year could be liable for the purchase of permits under trading scheme.

A lower facility threshold for scheme participation of 10,000t is also being considered.

Preliminary estimates indicate that a 25,000t threshold would result in about 15 WA landfills participating in the scheme, with a 10,000t threshold likely to capture about 25 landfills across the state.

Bill Mitchell, president of the Western Australian Local Government Association, which owns most of the landfills in WA, said the association conditionally favoured the 25,000t threshold.

He said that, unlike other states where landfills were run by private companies or state governments, WA local councils could find it difficult to administer the changes.

"Larger organisations have the HR and internal expertise to comply with any changes in legislations. It's not just the cost," Mr Mitchell said.

Landfill gas projects in WA currently generate about 21.05 megawatts.

Landfill Gas and Power is the state's biggest producer, generating 11.45MW through its four sites at Red Hill, Brockway, Canning Vale, and Tamala Park.

The other major players include Adelaide-based Landfill Management Services, which produces a total of 4.4MW through its landfills in South Cardup and Malaga.

Energy player AGL generates a total of 3.1MW through its two landfill sites, at Gosnells and Rockingham, with Waste Gas Resources generating 2.1MW from a landfill site in Henderson.

Another local player in the waste management sector is AnaeCo Ltd, whose DiCOM technology is used to produce electricity and other inputs, such as agricultural grade compost.

The company is currently close to completing its first facility in Shenton Park, and was recently chosen to develop a facility in Victoria.

But it may take a little more than a carbon-trading scheme to incentivise waste reduction.

AnaeCo has identified that opportunities in overseas markets may dwarf any likely opportunities in WA, and is currently assessing possibly entry into the UK waste management market.

Managing director Tom Rudas said population density and the regulatory environment meant the shift away from landfill to alternative waste technologies was greater in UK than in Australia.

For other local players, it hasn't been all smooth sailing.

Mt Herron Engineering, which ran a 1.3MW biomass power station near Mandurah using green waste, recently went into receivership.

On a larger scale, GRD's renewables subsidiary, Global Renewables, reported a $9 million loss, which has forced GRD to seek a strategic partner for the business.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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