Australia’s first thermal waste-to-energy facility begins construction

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An impression of the Kwinana waste-to-energy system

Construction of Australia’s first thermal waste-to-energy facility has been officially opened by Premier of Western Australia, the Honourable Mark McGowan MLA, and Federal Minister for the Environment, the Honourable Melissa Price MP, at a sod-turning ceremony on the facility’s site at Kwinana.

The facility, named Avertas Energy, will contribute to landfill reduction by processing 400,000 tonnes of waste–equivalent to one quarter of Perth’s post-recycling rubbish. Diverting this waste from landfill will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 400,000 tonnes per year, equivalent to taking 85,000 cars off Perth’s roads.

In addition, Avertas Energy will generate and export 36MW of green electricity to the local grid per year, sufficient to power more than 50,000 households.

Scheduled to open in 2021, Avertas Energy already has 20-year waste supply agreements in place with Rivers Regional Council and the City of Kwinana, playing a role in supporting those local governments’ waste management strategies. As the preferred supplier of baseload renewable energy, Avertas Energy will also be supporting the green energy needs of the Western Australia Local Government Association (WALGA) and its members.

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Although new to Australia, thermal waste-to-energy has a long track record internationally. Avertas Energy is implementing moving grate technology, which is used in approximately 2,000 facilities globally. In other countries, waste-to-energy is part of an overall solution for reducing landfill in conjunction with avoiding waste production, recycling and reuse. Waste managed by Avertas Energy will result in recovery of metallic materials that will be recycled and by-products that will be reused as construction materials.

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More than 800 jobs will be created over the course of the construction period and more than 60 new full-time positions once the facility is operating.

Acciona, which has been appointed to build the facility, has begun engaging with local sub-contractors about opportunities during construction. Post-construction, Veolia ANZ will operate and maintain the facility for 25 years.

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Premier of Western Australia, the Honourable Mark McGowan MLA, said: “Western Australia is at the forefront of new technologies for the management of waste and the reliable generation of new sources of energy. Pressure on landfill is a concern for communities around the world and Western Australia is taking a leadership position in Australia by embracing new methods and technologies that can sit alongside other strategies for managing waste over the long term.”

Avertas Energy CEO Frank Smith said: “This facility represents a significant opportunity to reduce pressure on landfill capacity and create a new and reliable source of green power. We are proud to be supporting Western Australia to achieve its waste management and green energy goals, and we are committed to engaging with local communities throughout construction and once the facility is operating.”