Victorian Government launches waste to energy discussion paper

The Victorian Government has released a discussion paper on waste to energy to support the development of new technologies, including anaerobic digestion and thermal treatment of waste.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Action Lily D’Ambrosio released the paper today during a visit to Shepparton, where she also announced five grants from the $2.38 million Waste to Energy Infrastructure Fund.

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The grants will help businesses and water corporations upgrade waste management practices and support projects that will deliver almost 1MW of renewable energy capacity per annum:

  • Western Region Water Corporation will receive $802,784 to collect organic waste material and generate energy
  • Diamond Valley Pork will receive $284,929 to install an anaerobic digester to improve waste management and generate energy and nutrient rich digestate
  • East Gippsland Region Water Corporation will receive $209,765 to enhance an existing bio-digester to process septic tank waste, food waste, fats, oils and greases
  • Nestle Australia will receive $182,510 to create a system where organic waste from starch based soft confectionery is used for bioenergy
  • Resource Resolution will receive $900,000 to help it build an anaerobic digester to divert local commercial food waste and other organics from landfill

The emissions saved through this program is equivalent to removing 16,500 cars from the road or the energy consumption of 7,000 homes.

The Waste to Energy Infrastructure Fund was announced in the 2016 State Budget as part of the Government’s Climate Change innovation and Jobs Initiative.

Feedback received on the discussion paper will help inform the Victorian Government’s development of a waste to energy policy, to be released in 2018.

 

Victorian Government implements Interim Waste Management Policy

The Victorian Government has put into place an Interim Waste Management Policy to remain in tact for 12 months.

The policy was declared in response to a significant fire at the SKM Recycling plant at Coolaroo in mid-July. The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria says it is needed to ensure that stockpiles of combustable recyclable and waste material are appropriately managed, and the associated risk to human and environmental health. These include the generation of hazardous air pollutants (including smoke), oil, run-off and leachate that affect the air, soil and waterways.

The policy, which applies to waste and resource recovery facilities, will remain in place for 12 months, however during this time further solutions for improving resource recovery facilities will be developed by the state government.

The IWMP applies to operators of sites that store combustible, recyclable, and waste material and requires storage of materials in a manner that reduces the risk to human health and the environment. These materials include includes paper, cardboard, wood, plastic, rubber, textile, organic material, refuse derived fuel, specified electronic waste, metals, and other combustible material which is considered waste. The policy also gives the EPA additional powers to support local government and Victoria’s fire services and issue remedial notices to facilities not properly managing potential fire risks.

EPA has developed Management and storage of combustible recyclable and waste materials – guideline (publication 1667) to provide practical guidance for industry on how to comply with the policy and operate in a manner that reduces potential fire risks and risks to human health and environment. This guideline will sit under the Interim Waste Management Policy.

Some of the guidelines outlined in publication 1667 include a necessity for operators to record inventory information on the types of waste stored and managed at the premises, its location and volumes. The inventory must also be maintained daily and easily accessible. Other areas of compliance range from safe working practices and infrastructure, to site selection and risk assessments. The guideline was developed in partnership with other government agencies such as Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB), Country Fire Authority (CFA), local councils and Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group. The waste industry and resource recovery representatives were also consulted.

 

Premier’s Sustainability Awards finalists outlined

The Victorian Government has announced the finalists for the Premier’s Sustainability Awards.

This year’s finalists included a campaign to save the orange-bellied parrot, a project that regenerates shellfish reefs using leftover oyster shells from a local restaurant, and a highly automated steel galvanising plant that produces significantly low emissions.

The winners from 10 categories will be announced at the awards ceremony on October 26, along with two overall winners selected by the Premier of Victoria in the following categories:

  • Premier’s Regional Recognition Award for a finalist who has demonstrated notable benefits for regional Victoria and
  • Premier’s Recognition Award for a winner who showcases exemplary innovation and determination in overcoming obstacles in sustainability.

The state government is working to reduce Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions by 15 to 20 per cent by 2020, and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

This year it unveiled a $146 million Renewable Energy Action Plan, aimed at delivering more renewable, affordable and reliable energy for Victorians.

 

Victorian Government launches waste to energy fund

The Victorian Government has launched a new $2 million program to support the development of waste to energy technologies, including anaerobic digestion and thermal treatment of waste.

The Waste to Energy Infrastructure Fund will boost sustainable energy production using organic and other materials and divert more waste from landfill.

As a major food producing and processing state, Victoria’s commercial and industrial sector produced more than 300,000 tonnes of food waste in 2014-15, but only 22 per cent of that was recycled.

Diverting commercial and industrial food waste from landfills means methane produced during decomposition is not released to the atmosphere where it is a major greenhouse gas.

Methane released to the atmosphere is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide which traps heat and contributes to climate change.

The Waste to Energy Infrastructure Fund is designed for the waste management sector, councils, water authorities and businesses with proposals for new or upgraded projects that can be commissioned by 31 December 2019.

Expressions of interest close on 3 April 2017. A full application and detailed business case assessment process will follow for eligible project ideas.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said waste to energy projects helped to reduce business costs, generating sustainable energy and reducing pressure on landfill.

“This program supports investment in renewable energy technologies that will help Victoria become a low carbon economy and reach our target of zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“A variety of industrial and organic waste products can be used in waste to energy projects, however thanks to our agricultural base and food-culture, Victorian farms, food processors and commercial operations are well-placed to benefit from turning waste to energy.”