Queensland council leaders have discovered the financial and environmental benefits of landfill biogas extraction at an open day at the Toowoomba Waste Management Centre.
The event, a joint initiative between Toowoomba Regional Council and LGI Limited, was aimed at showing council leaders how methane emissions from landfill can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and be transformed into renewable energy.
Participating councils were Goondiwindi Regional Council, Lismore City Council, Lockyer Valley Regional Council, South Burnett Regional Council, Southern Downs Regional Council and Western Downs Regional Council.
In a Queensland first, biogas recovered from the Toowoomba Waste Management Centre in Hermitage Road is collected and converted into electricity via LGI’s recently commissioned power station. The initiative reduces Toowoomba Regional Council’s greenhouse gas emissions while powering the Wetalla Water Reclamation Facility, one of council’s highest energy users, with reliable, renewable energy.
This power project aligns with the Queensland Government’s Energy and Jobs Plan which has set a renewable energy target of 70 per cent by 2032.
Jarryd Doran, LGI Chief Operating Officer, said councils could save millions of dollars for their communities by going green as well as having long-term certainty of their cost of energy.
“Toowoomba Regional Council is a shining example of what can be achieved when councils embrace green initiatives and implement environmentally responsible and sustainable practices,” Doran said.
“In addition to powering the Wetalla Water Reclamation Facility, surplus energy generated by LGI’s Toowoomba power station can also be fed into the National Electricity Grid.
“The partnership sees Toowoomba Regional Council receive a percentage of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCU) generated by the project.”
LGI’s carbon-cutting approach of using technologies to capture and abate methane emissions from landfills and generate reliable (24/7) renewable energy are widely used throughout Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT, with 15 councils across 26 sites, including eight producing renewable energy.
Doran said LGI’s carbon-cutting blueprint is becoming even more popular following the Australian Government’s recent commitment to cut emissions by 43 per cent by 2030.
“I’m not surprised other councils are looking to follow Toowoomba Regional Council’s lead and turn gas from landfill into reliable, renewable power,” Doran said.
Cr Nancy Sommerfield, Toowoomba Regional Council Water and Waste Committee portfolio leader, said she was proud council’s work continued to lead the way in waste management.
“The renewable energy project allows the biogas-fired generator to supply part of the power to run the Wetalla Water Reclamation Facility, in addition to delivering ongoing environmental benefits,” Sommerfield said.
“We know landfills are considerable emitters of greenhouse gas and this type of project will help to significantly reduce the emission rate and provide a return that allows council to reduce operating costs.
“It is expected that council will save about $600,000 a year in electricity costs (based on current tariffs) as well as collecting about $150,000 a year in Australian Carbon Credit Unit (ACCU) and electricity royalties (based on current charges/royalty rates). I’m especially pleased by this win-win for the environment and our ratepayers.”
Since December 2022, LGI’s approach has helped Toowoomba Regional Council reduce its carbon emissions by 136,000 tonnes – the equivalent of planting 2.2 million seedlings for the next decade.
More than 14.3 million3 of biogas has been captured, while 5GWh of renewable energy generated and 33,000 ACCUs created.