An environmental impact statement (EIS) that details the benefits of an energy recovery project at Lithgow has been publicly released.
The EIS, prepared by the proponents of the project – EnergyAustralia and Re.Group, estimates that the project will create about 300 direct and indirect jobs during peak construction and provide a $3.7 million boost to the local economy from ongoing operations.
The proposed energy recovery project involves constructing a plant at the existing Mt Piper power station, which will use discarded and non-recyclable every-day materials such as types of paper, plastics and fabrics. It is estimated that the plant could generate electricity for 40,000 NSW homes.
At full capacity, the project will process about 200,000 tonnes of household waste a year that would otherwise go to landfill.
EnergyAustralia head of Mt Piper Greg McIntyre said that the past two years had been spent speaking to hundreds of stakeholders and conducting dozens of studies to understand the project’s impact on the community, economy, environment and local heritage.
“While there’s still more work to be done, we’re very pleased we found ways to manage, mitigate or avoid the impacts identified.
“What’s also encouraging is that if we are to go ahead, there are significant community benefits on offer, including the creation of jobs and an annual boost to the local economy worth several million dollars,” McIntyre said.
Re.Group managing director David Singh said that some of the materials discarded by modern society simply cannot be recycled through the ‘yellow bin’ or made into compost through the ‘green bin’.
“This project will use systems that are internationally proven to safely recover energy from material that would otherwise go to landfill in NSW,” Singh said.
The group estimates that the development would involve a capital investment about $170 million. When completed in 2023, the project will support 16 new, permanent jobs and contribute at least $3.7 million to the region each year from local wages and the purchase of goods and services needed for operations and maintenance.
Community feedback on the EIS is being sought before a final investment decision is considered later this year.
Traffic and transport, air quality, noise, ash management and visual impacts have already been raised during consultation. The input has been used to develop measures to mitigate, or avoid entirely, impacts and to maximise benefits.