Australian Paper will invest $2.5m of a $7.5m bill to a full-scale feasibility study looking into the economic, technical, and commercial feasibility of creating a facility to make energy from waste.
The company has received $5m in combined financial backing from the Federal and Victorian Governments for the study, which will examine the possibility of a new facility at its Maryvale paper mill in the Latrobe Valley.
Craig Dunn, general manager Communications and Sustainability, Australian Paper, says, “We are currently selecting an engineering partner to scope out the technical aspects of the project. We will be looking at examples of how other regions have done this; the European market has many of these facilities.”
Norway and Sweden have been turning waste into energy for years now, even importing waste from other European nations.
The study is going to take a year; if the project proceeds to construction it could divert 650,000 tonnes of waste from landfill in SE Melbourne and Gippsland, converting it into base load energy, says Australian Paper.
Peter Williams, chief operating officer, Australian Paper says, “With a capital cost of around $600m the project would support up to 800 jobs in the construction phase and more than 40 jobs ongoing.
“Building on our significant renewable energy platform would be a natural step for our regional operations, reducing our reliance on imported energy and expanding our existing manufacturing footprint.
“Generating energy from municipal waste at Maryvale would help address SE Melbourne’s long term landfill issues, and also create valuable new construction and manufacturing jobs in the Latrobe Valley.”
Victorian Federal Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash says the waste to energy proposal has been identified as a priority project by the local community.
“Local communities know what is best for their region, including what projects will provide the greatest benefit to the community.
“I aim to help build the kinds of communities our children and grandchildren either want to stay in or come back to and local facilities like these help to do just that.”
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