The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) will provide up to $50 million in debt finance towards the development of two Australian designed waste-to-gas facilities in Western Australia.
The two projects by local West Perth-based company New Energy Corporation are already in advanced stages of development – one at Port Hedland in the Pilbara and a second at Rockingham near Perth; the latter being the state’s first municipal waste-to-gas project.
The facilities will generate cost competitive, base load energy at lower emissions than current grid sources. And both projects will be eligible for Australian Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) for the majority of the energy produced, although their financial viability is not reliant on RECs.
The CEFC – which is continuing its work financing innovative Australian low-carbon technologies and projects, despite a series of federal government budget cuts and the Abbott government’s plans to scrap the fund come July – says the $50 million will go towards catalysing finance for the project, which tackles a complex sustainability challenge.
“Taking waste, which is a cost, and turning it into energy, makes a lot of business sense and represents a big win for the environment,” CEFC CEO Oliver Yates said in statement on Friday.
“New Energy’s waste-to-gas technology is a world-leading, Australian innovation that has been widely deployed and commercially proven overseas. We can capitalise on our national expertise in this field and make sure it benefits our country: both directly through its application here and through the export New Energy’s has been widely deployed and commercially proven overseas.”
In Australia, waste to energy has not been as quick to take off as in other global markets like Europe. The ACT operates a 3MW facility that generates electricity from landfill gas, and is now looking to offer feed-in tariffs for up to 23MW of waste-to-energy power plants as part of its plans to source 90 per cent of its electicity needs from renewables by 2020.
And last month, the City of Sydney approved a draft advanced waste treatment master plan, that would convert more that 95 per cent of the city’s waste into energy and heat, reducing the loss of resources to landfill and cutting Sydney’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The CEFC’s finance for the WA New Energy projects takes its total investment in Australian waste-to-energy projects to over $150 million, accelerating over $400 million of private sector investment. It says it has another $280 million of waste-to-energy proposals in its project pipeline that would unlock a further $1 billion in additional finance.