Australia is set to welcome in a new era of reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfills, as Perth is building a plant that creates thermal energy from waste resources.
Construction has already begun on the Kwinana-based plant, with the incineration sector set to develop hundreds of new jobs in the short term. Australia continues to look for ways to bring down its carbon emissions in the wake of the eye-opening IPCC report last week.
The plant will enable the waste landscape to completely change within Perth and its suburbs, as 40 million tonnes of waste will not go to landfills and will instead be able to power 65,000 homes year-round.
Once recycling has filtered out all the renewable resources, around a quarter of Perth’s waste will accommodate eight of its councils – Kwinana, South Perth, Canning, Armadale, Mandurah, Serpentine Jarrahdale, Gosnells and Murray – in a bid to bring down the startling amount of waste being sent to landfills each year.
The plant’s incineration process will use a thermal grate mechanism that converts the waste into steam that can power a turbine and thus generate sufficient energy. The only waste product created will be the ash from the incineration, but Perth has confirmed it will reuse this in construction materials.
With a bid to reduce carbon emissions nationwide, this is the equivalent of taking 85,000 cars off the road. This works out to a saving of 400,000 tonnes of carbon per year.
This is also positive regarding employment in the local area, with more than 800 construction jobs necessary to build the plant,. There will be a further 60 permanent jobs when it is up and running in 2021.
The Rivers Regional Council has been the key driver of this project in terms of research. Its reports on the subject have helped to secure the $668m of funding required to get the process off the ground.
The state government for Perth and its surroundings was becoming increasingly concerned that they were running out of room to store landfill waste, with many dumps being too full already. There were also pollution concerns about a release of methane.
The Western Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority provided funding for the plant while citing its safety.
The project is a collaboration between Macquarie Capital and Phoenix Energy, with an investor vehicle set to purchase it as the financial raising aspect concludes.
Ashurst law firm’s infrastructure partner, Richard Guit, said that the plant is “a magnificent achievement for all concerned.” He added that the ability to bring world leaders in incineration from France, the UK and Singapore into the project showed that Australia was wise to invest in this sector.
Guilt said that “the complexity of being a ‘market first’ cannot be underestimated” and added that Macquarie’s acquisition of the Green Investment Group in the UK was critical for financing and delivering the project.
He labeled this as necessary for “having partners in Australia who have ‘done this’ internationally” and could apply their experiences and “contextualize it into the Australian context.”