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Australia’s first big waste-to-energy treatment plant to transform energy in the Peel region

By Caitlyn Rintoul / Mandurah Mail / 19 October 2018

Main image: Rivers Regional Council chairman and City of Mandurah Coastal Ward councilor Fred Riebeling were delighted with the announced energy project. Photo: Caitlyn Rintoul.

Household, commercial and industrial waste from the City of Mandurah and Shire of Murray will soon be diverted from landfill, as part of a $675 million energy project to tackle the growing recycling crisis.

The project will see Australia’s first big waste-to-energy treatment plant built in Kwinana across the next three years.

The move will see a collective total of 400,000 tonnes of waste from eight councils south of Perth diverted from landfill each year.

That waste will create 36 megawatts of reliable base-load energy, which would be exported to the grid, which is equivalent to the electricity needs of more than 50,000 households.

The project has been co-developed by Macquarie Capital and Phoenix Energy, with co-investment by Dutch Infrastructure Fund.

The project is expected to create more than 800 jobs, including apprenticeships, during its construction.

Once operational the facility is tipped to employ about 60 full-time employees.

After more than a decade of research and development by the Rivers Regional Council, chairman Fred Riebeling said he was pleased their vision was about to come to a reality.

He revealed to the Mandurah Mail that the project would cost $675 million and was “the largest private sector investment in down stream processing in Australia”.

Rivers Regional Council is made up of two elected representatives from the Cities of Mandurah, Armadale, Gosnells, South Perth and the Shires of Murray and Serpentine-Jarrahdale.

Shire of Murray president David Bolt, deputy president Steve Lee and City of Mandurah councillor Shane Jones are also on the Rivers Regional Council.

The council, which meets every two months, makes decisions relating to Strategic Waste Management issues.

By diverting the waste, which is equivalent to one-quarter of Perth’s post-recycling rubbish, there will be a reduction of 400,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

“That’s equivalent, so I’m told, to taking 85,000 cars off the road annually,” Mr Riebeling said.

”That in itself is significant.”

He said is was “basically a down-stream processing plant, even though its primary focus is power”.

“Twenty-five per cent of what goes in comes out as other products,” he said.

“There’s basically nothing more down-stream process that you could do.

“The power we’ll produce isn’t huge but it’s enough to power 50,000 houses.”

He said the cities of Mandurah, Gosnells, and Armadale were the biggest financial contributors to the council.

“We’re one of the major contributors. We’ve played our role,” he said.

“Depending on how much waste you have determines what you put in.

“As the chairman I’ve been involved in it a lot, dealing with both proponents and financiers along with the state government.

“It’s a huge relief that we’ve got to this stage.”

He had no concerns over the tipped population increase in the Peel region and said growth was built into the project’s contract.

Currently, the councils involved in the project will produce about 260,000 tonnes meaning the balance up to 400,000 will be sold to other industries.

“When our tonnage gets to 400,000, which will be a long time coming, we’ll be supplying all of it. There won’t be any need for the other smaller contracts,” Mr Riebeling.


Rivers Regional Council chairman and City of Mandurah Coastal Ward councillor Fred Riebeling was delighted with the announced energy project. Photo: Caitlyn Rintoul.

City of Mandurah chief executive officer Mark Newman said the city is extremely proud to be involved in this groundbreaking project.

“The project will see the elimination of landfill waste and provide major benefits for the local economy,” he said.

“Eight-hundred jobs will be created during construction with 60 full time positions once the facility is up and running.

“The city has been strongly committed to this project for around 10 years through our support of the Rivers Regional Council and we look forward to the opening of the facility in 2021.”

Macquarie Capital executive director Chris Voyce, said the project supported Perth communities by providing a practical, long-term solution for waste management.

“We are pleased to have contributed our global infrastructure and renewable energy expertise,” he said.

“Our support for the creation of lower carbon-intensive energy sources is underscored by the expansion of our participation in this project over the past three years.

“We originally came on board as a financial adviser and have since taken on the responsibilities of co-developer and investor.”

Phoenix Energy managing director Peter Dyson, said the project had been several years in the making and undergone an appropriately rigorous approvals process.

“I am delighted that the project has met all requirements and we can now move to delivering a first for Australia: an energy source that is one of the cleanest in the world,” he said.

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