The Draft Regulation putting into law how energy from waste is managed in New South Wales is now up for consultation through the Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA) website.
The EPA is consulting on the draft Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Amendment (Thermal Energy from Waste) Regulation 2021 (Draft Regulation).
The Draft Regulation follows the Government’s Energy from Waste Infrastructure Plan which restricts the location of energy from waste facilities in NSW with some exceptions.
It proposes changes to improve certainty to communities and industry around acceptable locations and facilities for energy from waste and applies the precautionary principle where there is a greater risk of harm to human health due to high population or existing air quality impacts.
It is designed to ensure that energy from waste plays a sustainable role as NSW transitions towards a circular waste and resource recovery framework, and to maximise efficiencies in infrastructure, waste management, innovation and energy recovery.
As outlined in the Energy from Waste Infrastructure Plan, the Draft Regulation restricts new energy from waste operations and infrastructure to four designated precincts (subject to limited exceptions).
Outside these areas, energy from waste will only be permitted if the facilities use waste, or waste-derived feedstock, to replace less environmentally sound fuels to generate energy at the site, and where that energy is used to power industrial and manufacturing processes on-site.
The Draft Regulation also defines thermal treatment of waste for energy recovery and lists activities that are excluded from that definition. The exclusions aim to support the transition to a circular economy by ensuring that necessary waste processing and recycling activities involving thermal treatment can continue to lawfully operate throughout NSW after the Draft Regulation becomes law.
All energy from waste proposals are still required to comply with environmental and planning laws.
The Draft Regulation is open for comment until 20 March 2022 at https://yoursay.epa.nsw.gov.au