Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has granted Australian Paper a works approval to develop a large-scale, waste to energy facility in Victoria.
The facility is proposed to be co-located within the boundaries of the Australian Paper site in Maryvale, Latrobe Valley and process residual municipal solid waste, and industrial and commercial waste.
The plant would generate steam and electricity that can be directly used in the paper mill and its operations or power exported to the grid. As proposed, it would replace two existing gas-fired boilers, produce approximately 30 megawatts of electricity and 150 tonnes per hour of steam and would result in a 13 million tonne net reduction of greenhouse gases through its lifetime.
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EPA’s assessment of the application considered issues such as use of best practice technology, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions, waste fuel composition, compliance with waste hierarchy, the principles of the Environment Protection Act 1970, environmental management and potential risks to human health and the environment including emissions to air, noise, disposal of fly ash, the wastewater treatment system and operational contingencies.
EPA Executive Director of Regulatory Standards, Assessments & Permissioning Tim Eaton said EPA’s decision followed many months of consultation and research including taking in 128 submissions and reviewing additional information. The statutory deadline for decision was 28 November.
“The project is highly complex and with so many submissions it was clear that thorough consultation would be needed especially with the community most directly involved,” said Mr Eaton.
The company’s full application, assessment and the responses to the submissions will be made publicly available here.
“Approval of the application means that EPA has satisfied itself that the project can be built to meet the requirements of the Environment Protection Act 1970 and all relevant policies and regulations to protect human health and the environment from the harmful effects of pollution and waste,” he said.
Australian Paper now requires further approvals, including a planning permit from Latrobe City Council and securing waste contracts. Completion of final detailed design, construction and commissioning will all need to be consistent with the works approval before Australian Paper can apply for an EPA operating licence.