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Energy from Waste: meeting economic and political goals


SUEZ Seminar Series - September 2015

The potential and the challenges for Western Australia

WA has the highest rate of waste generation per person in Australia.

With a rising population and an ambitious waste diversion target, a new approach to waste management is required.

The Perth SUEZ Seminar on 18 September explored the role Energy from Waste (EfW) can play in the waste hierarchy.

The panel of experts discussed the merits of energy recovery while also exploring key issues including the technology, financing, and community attitudes.

Don’t re-invent the wheel on EfW

Joyanne Manning, Associate Principal, Planning and Management at ARUP says Australia has a huge advantage as it moves into Energy from Waste – the ability to learn from global experience.

“Europe is 20 years in front of you so you can look to the proven and ready access to data from the plants there,” Joyanne said.

SUEZ has embraced that philosophy by partnering with EfW technology experts Martin Biopower to develop a proposed $325 million facility for Perth.

The plant that would use combustion technology which is a mature and well established process for treating residual waste.

The facility would recover valuable materials and energy from waste that would otherwise go to landfill. By products from the process will also be re-used as a road construction material.

Waste characterisation is critical

What is in the waste stream was an important factor for panel members.

Brian Callander of Mindarie Regional Council, said waste characterisation was a key issue and would help determine the plant required.

Nial Stock, State General Manager SUEZ, noted that from a plant developer’s perspective, guaranteed volumes and an understanding of the calorific value of the waste would be essential.

“So we also need to take into account changes to the waste stream through policy changes such as moving from a two to three bin system. 

“Quantity is key to getting the project banked,” Nial said.

Jeremy Hasnip, Senior VP and Head of Power and Renewables for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation provided an investor’s point of view. 

“Our bank has funded 14 of 27 EfW plants in UK. From an investor perspective we look at the proponents, their experience and the technology know-how they bring to the project.”

Community understanding and consultation is key

Joyanne noted that technical or financial issues weren’t the only key drivers. 

She said her experience internationally had shown the need for early and extensive community consultation. 

“Speak to the community early and if you can identify the technology and plant design as soon as practical that helps people understand what is proposed, how it will work and what it could look like,” she said. 

Simon Currie, Partner & Global Head of Energy, Norton Rose Fulbright, agreed. 

“We have come a long way since the waste incineration plants built decades ago in the UK – but we need to explain why EfW should be part of the solution,” said Simon. 

There was broad agreement from the panel, and attendees, that community education is paramount in bringing EfW projects to fruition and it must be a shared responsibility between Governments and industry.

2014 Winner Environmental Sustainability