Vic awards first energy from waste licence

Thursday, 14 March, 2024

Vic awards first energy from waste licence

Recycling Victoria has awarded its first Energy from Waste licence under the Waste to Energy Scheme.

The recipient is the Maryvale Energy from Waste (EfW) project, a facility that will process non-recyclable municipal solid waste (MSW) that would otherwise go to landfill. This waste will generate energy for the Maryvale pulp and paper mill.

The Maryvale EfW project is being developed by a consortium that includes Opal, Veolia and Masdar Tribe Australia.

Through its activities, the facility aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Victoria by an estimated 270,000 tonnes per year — the equivalent of taking 50,000 cars off the road annually.

The licence award coincides with the start of a detailed geotechnical study at the Maryvale site involving drill holes, surface soil sampling and specialty electro-seismic surveys.

2024 Maryvale EfW geotechnical works.

The $550,000 geotechnical study is funded through a $48.2 million grant awarded to the facility by the Australian Government as part of its Modern Manufacturing Initiative.

Spanish infrastructure group Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios SA (Cobra) will use the study findings to carry out engineering designs and costings for the foundations of the Maryvale EfW facility.

“The Maryvale Energy from Waste project will create an innovative new energy industry in the Latrobe Valley,” said Opal CEO Chris Nagaura. “The geotechnical study at the project site demonstrates real progress towards the development of this world-class facility, which is expected to support approximately 500 jobs during the construction phase.”

Victorian Minister for Environment Steve Dimopoulos said the Waste to Energy Scheme is a key initiative that will help the state reach its target of diverting 80% of waste from landfill by 2030.

“Projects like this mean more waste is diverted from landfill while creating new jobs across regional Victoria,” Dimopoulos said.

“We have a robust framework to regulate waste to energy in Victoria; this is the first step in the process which will ensure all facilities meet best-practice environment protection requirements, reduce waste to landfill and demonstrate social licence with surrounding communities.”

Victoria has the second highest waste-to-landfill amount in Australia, according to the National Waste Report 2022, with the state witnessing a 15% increase since 2016–17.

“We know we need to look beyond landfill to reach net zero, and EfW is one way in which to divert from landfill,” said Richard Kirkman, CEO and Managing Director for Veolia Australia and New Zealand.

“These facilities have been converting waste into heat and electricity by means of combustion, as well as enabling recycling of metals and reuse of aggregates. In comparison to landfilling, they also manage waste immediately rather than leaving it to future generations to manage,” Kirkman added.

The facility will provide a waste management solution to councils for their non-recyclable residual waste. Councils will not be locked in to supplying fixed waste volumes to the facility, but will be offered a ‘waste arising’ contract model, giving them the freedom to pursue alternative waste reduction initiatives without incurring any penalty.

Abdulla Zayed, Masdar’s Director, Development and Investment, said Masdar was deeply committed to working with global partners to develop innovative solutions to accelerate the path towards net zero.

“We welcome further development on the Maryvale Energy from Waste project. Innovations in non-recyclable residual waste management are seeing the industry divert more waste away from landfill, while reducing emissions, producing energy and creating jobs,” he said.

Top image caption: Aerial view of 2024 Maryvale EfW geotechnical works.

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