Premier of Western Australia Mark McGowan and Federal minister for the environment Melissa Price have marked the commencement of construction of Australia’s first thermal waste-to-energy facility at a sod turning ceremony on the facility’s site at Kwinana.
The Avertas Energy facility 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.
“WA is at the forefront of new technologies for the management of waste and the reliable generation of new sources of energy,” McGowan said.
“Pressure on landfill is a concern for communities around the world and WA 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.”
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 WA Local Government Association (WALGA) and its members.
“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,” Price said.
“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.”
Although new to Australia, thermal waste-to-energy has a long tack record internationally. Avertas Energy is implementing moving grate technology, which is used in approximately 2,000 facilities globally.
“This facility represents a significant opportunity to reduce pressure on landfill capacity and create a new and reliable source of green power,” said Frank Smith, CEO of Avertas Energy.
“We are proud to be supporting WA to achieve its waste management and green energy goals, and we are committed to engaging with local communities throughout construction and once the facility is operating.”
In other countries, waste-to-energy is part of an overall solution for reducing landfill in conjunction with avoiding waste production, recycling and reuse. Waste managed by Avertas Energy will result in 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 and 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 sub-contractors about opportunities during construction. Post-construction, Veolia Australia and New Zealand will operate and maintain the facility for 25 years.
“We are excited to be building the first thermal waste-to-energy facility in Australia and proud to be continuing our work in WA. We anticipate this project will contribute to the development of specialist skills in the WA construction industry, creating local opportunities for sub-contractors,” said Bede Noonan, managing director at Acciona Geotech.