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REMONDIS remains committed EfW plant despite Swanbank setback

REMONDIS Australia has withdrawn its Coordinated Project application after being advised by the Queensland State Government that the Coordinated Project pathway would not be suitable to realise its $400 million Energy from Waste plant as part of a proposed $700 million Resource Recovery Precinct at Swanbank. REMONDIS remains committed to introducing Energy from Waste technology in Queensland, which must be an integral component of a sophisticated Queensland circular economy in the future.

In December 2021 the Queensland Coordinator General informed REMONDIS that its application for approval to construct an Energy from Waste facility would be unviable as a Coordinated Project due to a recently updated Temporary Local Planning Instrument temporarily blocking new applications for Energy from Waste in the Ipswich Region.

It was made clear that REMONDIS should withdraw from the Swanbank Energy from Waste Coordinated Project process by the end of February, or have its application terminated by the government.

REMONDIS has today informed the Queensland Coordinator General it is withdrawing its Coordinated Project application.

However, REMONDIS remains committed to investigating options for Energy from Waste technology in Queensland, which may include examining further locations in the future.

REMONDIS first approached the Coordinator General about the Swanbank proposal in 2018, ahead of the Coordinator General accepting the project application and giving it Coordinated Project Status in June 2020.

Since then, REMONDIS has been waiting for the Coordinator General to release Draft Terms of Reference for public comment, a critical step in the assessment and community consultation processes. The Draft Terms of Reference identify social, environmental and other matters including design to be addressed in the project’s Environmental Impact Statement.

REMONDIS Australia CEO, Bjoern Becker, said the company will keep working with the Queensland Government to identify options to introduce Energy from Waste, given that recent government policy has identified Energy from Waste as an essential part of modern circular economy.

Read more: Getting rid of residual waste – the options

“The Queensland Government accepted our project for assessment and asked us to follow a rigorous process, including community consultation, which we have done in good faith and with much effort and dedication over a long period,” Becker said. “It is disappointing that we have been left in limbo for nearly two years due to the stalling of the assessment process, and to then be advised to withdraw our application.

“Our offer is to invest $700 million to supercharge recycling at our Swanbank precinct, including an outlay of $400 million for an Energy from Waste facility that would create 200 full time equivalent jobs in the Ipswich area. That would involve creating electricity to power 50,000 homes annually, under processes that work safely and successfully in major cities all over the world including Paris, London, Copenhagen, Cologne, Zurich, Vienna, Palm Beach and Singapore. The rest of the world knows that when you embrace Energy from Waste technology you all but do away with the dark-age practice of landfill and its potential environmental impacts including land disturbance, odour, methane and leachate discharge. We will keep working with the Queensland Government with a view to introducing Energy from Waste technology to the state in line with government policy. The benefits can’t be ignored, and Australia is long overdue to embrace this proven technology.”

REMONDIS has so far invested several million dollars in staff, consultants and technical information to bring Energy from Waste technology to Swanbank.

Swanbank is an ideal site for such technology given that it is a long-term waste management centre with steady waste streams since 1997. There is also proximity to water (required for producing electricity) and proximity to electrical infrastructure, meaning the produced electricity can be fed directly into the grid.

As global waste management and recycling leader, REMONDIS has more than 30 years’ experience developing Energy from Waste technology around the world. It operates 16 such facilities under strict international standards.