Germany eyes Ipswich for $400m waste-to-energy project

Copenhagen’s Amager Bakke waste-to-energy plant

German company REMONDIS has announced plans to build a $400 million energy-from-waste (EfW) facility in Swanbank, south of Ipswich.

The proposed plant will convert between 300,000 and 500,000 tonnes of waste per year to generate up to 50MW of baseload electricity for the state, enough to power up to 50,000 homes.

REMONDIS Queensland general manager Bret Collins said the company has been encouraged by recent comments from governments across Australia that EfW technology could provide some relief to the challenges facing the waste management and recycling industry.

“Our 52 facilities recover energy from more than 4.2 million tonnes of waste per annum and we trade our own electricity into the European grid,” he said.

“There is an opportunity for Australia to benefit from REMONDIS’ global experience, and other successful European and UK facilities, and incorporate energy-from-waste as part of the solution to sustainable, best practice waste management.

“Adopting EfW technology will ensure that wastes with recoverable value are not sent to landfill and, instead, are put to beneficial use.”

Queensland Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick welcomed the news and said it establishes Queensland as a major player in the waste-to-energy market.

“This project could create up to 200 jobs during construction and some 70 jobs during operations,” he said.

“The introduction of our government’s waste levy provides a real incentive for projects like this, building a new industry as an alternative to landfill.”

REMONDIS Australia is expected to submit an application to Queensland’s independent Coordinator-General to declare the project a ‘coordinated project’.

“Building the waste to energy industry is important for Ipswich because it generates jobs and provides opportunities for our community,” Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard said.

“The scale of this project and the benefits it can potentially deliver for Ipswich residents as far as generating power for Queensland homes while reducing landfill and creating local jobs demonstrates just how valuable growing this industry is for our area.”

Subject to receiving all approvals from government, it is expected the project would begin construction in 2020.