Energy from waste facility

Article image - Energy from waste facility A second facility being built to generate energy from waste, will use innovative 'waste-arising' contracts with supplier councils allowing them to pursue waste reduction targets.

Australia’s second large-scale energy from waste (EfW) plant is being built at East Rockingham, Western Australia.

The $511 million plant will help tackle Australia’s rising waste management problem by diverting waste from landfill. It will also generate renewable baseload energy to support the State’s electricity network.

When complete, the East Rockingham Resource Recovery Facility (ERRRF) will process about 300,000 tonnes of residual waste a year, reducing annual emissions of CO2-e by a similar number, the equivalent of taking about 64,000 cars off the road.

The state-of-the-art facility will also generate 29MW of renewable baseload electricity for the South West Interconnected System – enough to power more than 36,000 homes.

Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) Chief Executive Officer, Ian Learmonth, said reducing Australia’s reliance on landfill for waste disposal was another way to cut greenhouse gas emissions and help meet our international emissions targets.

“EfW is a great example of technology that addresses more than one challenge, using our rising waste levels to provide much-needed baseload energy.

“The clean energy produced by the EfW sector improves the reliability and security of the electricity supply to firm and support grid stability – an important priority for the CEFC.”

The ERRRF has entered into a power purchase agreement for 25MW of its generating capacity.

It has also secured long-term supply contracts for a significant portion of its waste from the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council and the City of Cockburn.

Importantly, the ERRRF is the first of its kind in Australia to use ‘waste-arising’ contracts, giving councils the ability to continue to pursue waste reduction targets with waste supply commitments to the ERRRF. This type of innovative contractual framework will help support Western Australia’s Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030.

New Energy Corporation Chairman Enzo Gullotti said the ‘waste-arising’ model meant that councils would only pay for the capacity they used and would not be penalised if they successfully implemented waste reduction schemes.

“This is a win for the environment and represents real value for money for ratepayers who will be protected from the rising cost of landfill, particularly through the State’s landfill levy.”

The ERRRF will process various residual waste streams, including municipal solid waste, commercial and industrial waste.

The plant will also salvage around 72,000 tonnes a year of bottom ash which will be further processed for use in road bases and other construction materials.

CEFC waste sector lead Mac Irvine said that where waste could not be avoided or reduced, recycling and recovery of energy from waste offered a much better solution than landfill.

“Under the waste hierarchy, disposing of waste in landfill is the lowest order use of waste.

“EfW facilities create a higher order use for waste because they divert waste from landfill as well as recover energy from it.

“They also recover other materials like metals, glass and aggregates that can be recycled to form part of a wider circular economy. This all leads to significant emissions reduction.”

The facility will be located in the East Rockingham industrial area, 40km south of Perth and just seven kms from the pioneering Avertas Energy EfW plant in Kwinana.