Ergon welcomes official opening of Mackay Sugar co-gen plant

Ergon Energy chief executive Ian McLeod has welcomed the official opening of Mackay Sugar’s co-generation plant, saying the power provider’s involvement in the project reinforced its commitment to the development of renewable energy sources in regional Queensland.

Under a power purchase agreement signed by the two organisations back in March 2010, Ergon will buy the excess electricity generated by the $120 million facility, produced from sugar cane waste and on sell to customers.

“Ergon Energy is pleased to be part of a project that will deliver environmental benefits, producing electricity from renewable sources, while contributing to the long term viability of the sugar industry in the region and the economic benefits that will flow on to the Mackay community,” Mr McLeod said

Ergon’s chief executive also said the deal allowed Ergon Energy to secure a long-time source of renewable energy, assisting it to meet its commitment to Australia’s national renewable energy target scheme while providing electricity to its customers.

It is expected to provide over 200,000 renewable energy certificates to help meet Ergon Energy’s renewable energy certificate obligations.

The plant will increase Mackay Sugar’s output to 38MW, with around 27MW surplus to Mackay Sugar’s requirements available to be exported to the grid via a 5.4km high voltage interconnector constructed by Ergon between the Mill and the existing 66kV Pioneer Valley/Glenella line.

This co-generation plant will allow the Mackay Sugar Mill to provide additional generation capacity to the Mackay region, while delivering environmental benefits by reducing Mackay Sugar’s reliability on coal-fired generation by burning bagasse, the waste product from crushing sugar cane.

“The new plant will have the capability of meeting one third of the Mackay region’s electricity requirements,” Mr McLeod said.

“This modern new co-generation facility is a great example of how Ergon Energy can work with businesses in rural Queensland to deliver projects that provide commercial value and environmental benefits.”