Australia’s first large-scale energy from waste project – a 36 MW plant at Kwinana in Western Australia – is expected to power up to 50,000 homes using household waste, contributing to the grid stability of the South West Interconnected System (SWIS).
When built, the $700 million Avertas Energy project will be able to process around 400,000 tonnes of domestic ‘red bin’ and commercial and industrial residual waste a year.
By processing household waste from local councils, it will produce cost-competitive baseload renewable energy. It is also expected to reduce CO2-e emissions by more than 400,000 tonnes per year -the equivalent of taking 85,000 cars off the road.
The Kwinana plant will use technology that already has a strong track record in Europe and meets strict environmental requirements. The thermally-treated waste heats water into steam to produce electricity, with metals recovered for recycling and other by-product materials suitable for reuse in the construction industry.
The Avertas Energy Kwinana plant is a co-development between Macquarie Capital and Phoenix Energy and is owned by Macquarie Capital and Dutch Infrastructure Fund.
The beginning of construction was officially marked in March 2019. The project is expected to employ around 800 workers during its three-year construction phase, and some 60 operations staff on an ongoing basis.
The Kwinana plant has secured long-term supply contracts for the majority of its waste requirements from the Rivers Regional Council and the City of Kwinana.
Up to $90 million in CEFC finance is part of a $400 million debt syndicate that also includes SMBC, Investec, Siemens, IFM Investors and Metrics Credit Partners, some of which have prior experience in banking EfW projects globally. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) is contributing a further $23 million in grant funding.
Australians produce almost three tonnes of waste per person per year. While the priority is always a strong focus on recycling and organic waste management, there is still a considerable amount of household waste from red-lidded bins ending up as landfill, where it produces a large amount of emissions.
Through this finance, delivered as part of the Sustainable Cities Investment program, the CEFC is helping demonstrate the business case for large-scale energy from waste investments in Australia in the future.