For the first time in Western Australia large quantities of domestic waste could be converted into electricity following approval for the State’s first large scale waste-to-energy facility.
Environment Minister Albert Jacob today announced that final environmental approval had been granted for New Energy’s Boodarie Waste-to-Energy and Materials Recovery facility, near Port Hedland.
Mr Jacob said his decision followed consideration of the Environmental Protection Authority’s report and consultation with other decision-making authorities.
The New Energy facility is expected to process up to 255,000 tonnes of waste a year and put 15.5 megawatts of power back into the grid. As part of the approval, construction for the facility must start within the next five years.
“This is an exciting step forward for waste management in Western Australia,” he said.
“There are no other waste-to-energy plants of this scale currently operating in Australia.
“Waste-to-energy technology has the potential to offer an alternative to landfill with the additional benefit of energy generation.
“This technology has already proven successful in the United States and Japan and a number of European countries over the past decade.”
The Minister said he was confident the existing regulatory regime under the Environmental Protection Act was well equipped to minimise and manage the environmental impact of waste-to-energy plants. Air emissions from the plant must meet the strict standards set by the European Union’s Waste Incineration Directive.
“The Boodarie plant intends to use gasification technology which has been proven to keep emissions below the European standards,” Mr Jacob said.
“Emission limits and testing frequencies will be set through the works approval and licensing process under Part V of the Environmental Protection Act and the EPA has provided advice to the Department of Environment and Conservation to assist in this.
“Waste management in the Pilbara has struggled to keep pace with the rapid expansion of the mining and oil and gas industries, and there have been significant increases in the amount of waste being received at Pilbara landfills.
“This waste-to-energy facility should significantly improve waste management by diverting waste from unlined landfills, increasing recycling rates, recovering energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It will also operate as a recycling facility.”
The facility could potentially power 21,000 homes
The construction value of the project is estimated at $12million
The operational phase of the project is expected to provide on-going employment for at least 20 local people and indirectly create an extra 18 jobs
The total impact on output in the local economy of the project has been estimated at approximately $51million
Ministerial Statement 935 for the Boodarie Waste-to-Energy and Materials Recovery Facility, Port Hedland is available on the EPA’s website: http://www.epa.wa.gov.au
Minister’s office - 6552 5800