Victoria should burn waste into energy, report says

A $200 million waste-to-energy plant in Melbourne’s western suburbs would produce enough electricity to power more than 35,000 homes, according to a new report.

The report, commissioned by Victorian Labor MP Cesar Melhem, said the plant would also reduce the amount of waste going into landfill by around 90 per cent.

The state government commissioned a series of public consultations on waste-to-energy technology after local councils took legal action against the expansion of Victoria’s largest tip, at Ravenhall, last year.

The public consultation report has urged the government to support the creation of the waste-to-energy plant.

The report proposes an eight-year time frame for a public-private funded facility at either Werribee or Ravenhall.

It would take in 350,000 tonnes of waste a year from eight local councils.

“The community is supportive of waste-to-energy as an alternative to landfill, but the risks must be recognised and managed. This includes air quality and environmental protection,” the report found.

“There are concerns about how the end products, such as fly ash, will be managed safely and effectively.”

The public consultation report found residents were concerned about how pollution from the proposed plants would be managed.

The report noted about 10,000 tonnes of fly ash would need to be sent to a hazardous waste landfill each year.

The cost of disposing of rubbish via waste-to-energy was roughly $100 per tonne — about twice the cost of landfill.

The report said waste companies would like the state government to help negotiate access to the power grid so they could sell the electricity produced by the plants.

Last year, the Victorian Government launched a $2 million program to support the development of waste-to-energy technologies, including anaerobic digestion and thermal treatment of waste.