REMONDIS intends to develop $400M QLD waste to energy facility

REMONDIS Australia has announced its intention to develop a $400 million waste to energy (WtE) facility at its Swanbank landfill in Queensland.

The company has advised the state government that it will make an application to develop the recovered energy through the State’s Coordinated Project process, with the project expected to begin construction in 2020.

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The proposed plant aims to generate 50 megawatts of baseload electricity for Queensland households and business by redirected 300,000 and 500,000 tonnes of waste from landfill per year. This energy would be able to power 50,000 average homes and be available every day of the year.

REMONDIS Group has operated and built WtE plants for 24 years and operates 52 facilities which recover more than 4.2 million tonnes of waste per year in Europe.

REMONDIS Australia General Manager QLD Operations and Business Development Bret Collins said the WtE proposal does not rely on additional waste streams coming to the Swanbank site – instead it will divert existing waste streams to a beneficial use.

“REMONDIS has been encouraged by recent comments from governments across Australia that WtE technology could provide some relief to the challenges facing the waste management and recycling industry,” Mr Collins said.

“There is an opportunity for Australia to benefit from REMONDIS’ global experience, and other successful European and UK facilities, and incorporate waste to energy as part of the solution to sustainable, best practice waste management.

“Adopting WtE technology will ensure that wastes with recoverable value are not sent to landfill and, instead, are put to beneficial use,” he said.

Mr Collins said that while Australians may not be familiar with WtE technology, it is used throughout Europe and considered a tried and trusted contributor to best practice waste management and energy generation.

“WtE plants are constructed to the strictest European Union environment, emission and health standards and this is the technology we would bring to Australia,” Mr Collins said.

“There are hundreds of WtE plants throughout Europe, the USA and Asia, and many are part of the fabric of suburbs and communities – there are WtE plants in Paris, London, Copenhagen, Cologne, Zurich, Vienna, Palm Beach and Singapore, just to name a few.”

Infrastructure and Planning Minister Cameron Dick welcomed the news and said it establishes Queensland as a major player in the waste‑to‑energy market.

“The introduction of our government’s waste levy provides a real incentive for projects like this, building a new industry as an alternative to landfill,” Mr Dick said.

“This project could create up to 200 jobs during construction and some 70 jobs during operations.”

Mr Dick said REMONDIS Australia is expected to submit an application to Queensland’s independent Coordinator-General to declare the project a ‘coordinated project’.

“If the Coordinator-General decides to declare this project a coordinated project it will help streamline approvals and fast-track delivery of this significant project,” he said.

“A coordinated project approach also means that all the potential impacts and benefits of the project are considered in an integrated and comprehensive manner.”

New abilities for Ipswich waste operators

New amendments to Queensland planning safeguards have been approved by the state government and will give waste operators across Ipswich the ability to reduce impacts on the community.

Buffer zones and other safeguards for residents living near new or expanded waste facilities in Swanbank and New Chum were implemented through a Temporary Local Planning Instrument (TLPI) amendment from Queensland Planning Minister Cameron Dick.

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“These changes allow waste operators to bring forward new ideas, such as waste to energy solutions, to improve their existing operations and reduce impacts on the community and environment,” Mr Dick said.

The changes followed industry and council feedback on it current operation, with the expansion of the safeguards also including Ebenezer, Willowbank and Jeebropilly industrial areas.

“While these TLPIs regulate development applications for these areas, Council will use the two-year interim period to amend their planning scheme to address community concerns over the impact of waste facilities,” Mr Dick said.

“Development applications may be given favourable consideration by the Ipswich City Council where it can be clearly demonstrated, with a high degree of certainty, that improved amenity, environmental or community outcomes are able to be achieved.

“Both TLPIs complement actions already being undertaken by the Environment Minister with the newly formed Waste Management Stakeholder Advisory Group and Odour Abatement Taskforce,” he said.

A $100 million Resource Recovery Industry Development Program is due to be released later in 2018 to develop a high value resource recovery industry in Queensland.

Member for Jordan Charis Mullen said the government had consulted with the Ipswich City Council for their comments on both TLPIs.

“I am very pleased the TLPI’s are now in place and community concerns have been addressed while we use the next two years to work with the department to progress amendments to the planning scheme,” Ms Mullen said.

Waste Recycling Industry Association Chief Executive Officer Rick Ralph said industry and all levels of government have a critical role in addressing community concerns while maintaining the waste industry’s ongoing business aspirations.

“We are committed to realising council and the state government’s future direction on waste, and to reshape Queensland to become Australia’s leading secondary resources and recycling state,” Mr Ralph said.

Queensland Government establishes #odourbusters taskforce

The Queensland Government has established a taskforce to deal with nuisance odours in the Swanbank area.

The Odour Abatement Taskforce, also known as #odourbusters, will operate from a local base at Redbank Plains to crack down on offensive odours and other environmental concerns in the area for the next 12 months.

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Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the state government was investing 2.5 million in the program to respond to community concerns raised through an independent community survey this year.

“With the information received from 1435 local residents, we have moved swiftly to establish a taskforce of 10 specialist environmental officers,” Ms Enoch said.

“The team will be dedicated to investigating and responding to issues raised by the community.”

Ms Enoch said the community survey addressed waste management, air quality and water management issues within the Swanbank industrial area.

“Part of our response will be to introduce new technologies to monitor air, noise and water quality in Ipswich suburbs,” she said.

“In addition to on-the-ground investigations, the Odour Abatement Taskforce will intensively examine and review current industry regulation and practice.”

Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard said the Queensland Government will have a strong focus on and interaction with the Swanbank industrial area.

“In the past year, the Department of Environment and Science has received 302 reports of odour from 167 people alleging bad smells from landfill and waste recycling facilities in the Swanbank industrial area,” she said.

“Rest assured, we have some of the highest environmental standards in the world and Queensland has a strong record when it comes to compliance.”

Member for Ipswich West Jim Madden said the Palaszczuk Government ensured there was always strong compliance when it comes to waste management issues.

“Over the last financial year, the state’s environmental regulator carried out more than 7250 compliance checks state-wide to ensure our high environmental standards are met,” he said.

“Of these, 855 compliance checks were conducted in the Ipswich area.

For more information on the #odourbusters, click here.

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