Western Australia set to increase renewable energy mix

A new renewable energy plant in Western Australia’s southern industrial area of Kwinana has just been given conditional EPA approval, which means final approval and start up construction will be just around the corner for the $380 million Waste to Energy (WtE) plant – the third such plant to be approved in the state.

In 2013, WA energy company Phoenix Energy entered into a 20 year Waste Supply agreement with local Council City of Kwinana, stating that they would be able to ‘…divert 100% of its residential residual waste from Landfill; achieve significant reductions in carbon emissions and produce the equivalent (renewable) energy to meet the needs of over 15% of its residents…’. Now in 2015, nearly two years later, they have passed through public comment and debate and received environmental approval. They now face the final governmental approvals that will prepare them for construction and operation, but it appears that it will be smooth sailing now that they have the go-ahead from the EPA.

The plant will focus on converting household waste to clean energy using thermal waste-to-energy methods, which, (according to the Phoenix Energy website) will include mass combustion and plasma gasification. More recently the energy company announced they would also be including Algae. Tec‘s algae to biofuels proprietary technology to ensure a higher energy output. It is estimated that once in full operation, the plant will process around 400,000 tonnes of household waste, producing 36 megawatts of electricity. In simpler terms, it will provide enough energy to power 40,000 homes across WA’s Southwest grid.

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Once the project passes the final approval stages, Phoenix Energy will most likely be working with engineering and construction company John Holland to build and maintain the plant.  City of Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams commented in a press release that “This is a unique and outstanding opportunity for the City of Kwinana to play a pivotal role in the future of waste management. Not only will it result in significant long term savings for our community, but it means we will achieve the Government’s goal of zero waste to landfill, ensuring we made a positive change for our future generations”.

SustainingPeople will keep an eye on this project as it soars towards completion, and we are looking forward to seeing WA increase its renewable energy output not just with this new plant, but with others like the Carnegie Wave Energy project, which is also nearing completion. It is perhaps fitting that an energy company named Phoenix Energy will help WA rise further from the ashes of our fossil-fueled economy, and turn those (household waste) ashes into long term and sustainable energy for the state.

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