Australian Paper looks to energy from landfill

In the face of rising energy prices major manufacturer Australian Paper is launching a $7.5m study into a proposed plant being built on its Maryvale production site to burn landfill for energy.

The proposed $618m energy from waste plant will include waste fuel boilers, where rubbish from south east Melbourne will be used to produce what the company estimates to be 60Mwh of energy.

Australian Paper says it will be able to take its Maryvale site in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria, off the grid, with potential to export power to local communities.

The company, owned by Japanese firm Nippon Paper, is basing its proposal off a similar facility built for a paper plant in England.

[Related: Australian Paper strike over]

Melbourne is currently facing landfill shortages, with around 750,000 tonnes of annual landfill capacity in South East Melbourne closing over the next five years. Australian Paper says the facility would reduce landfill in Gippsland and Melbourne by up to 650,000 tonnes each year, easing pressure on existing landfill sites. The company also claims the site would reduce CO2 emissions by 500,000 tonnes per year.

The Maryvale plant is currently the state’s largest industrial user of natural gas. The company says 41 per cent of its energy comes from natural gas, 53 per cent from renewables and 6 per cent from coal.

Australian Paper says the plant would create 1,600 jobs during construction with 440 jobs available once it is operating.

The company recently resolved a long running dispute with its workers over a new business enterprise at its other factory in Preston, the largest envelope manufacturer in Australia. After two months of the envelope workers striking and a few meetings with the Fair Work Commission, Australian Paper reached an agreement with the AMWU where workers were granted close to all of the conditions they asked for. 

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