Australian waste management company Cleanaway is proposing an Energy-from-waste facility in Western Sydney that would generate electricity by burning residential, commercial and industrial waste.
Cleanaway, in a joint venture with Macquarie Capital, is proposing to construct and operate the $700 million Western Sydney Energy and Resource Recovery Centre on a site on Wallgrove Road at Eastern Creek under State Significant consent.
DPIE has received more than 630 submissions on the project, including more than 600 objecting to it. Because more than 50 objections were received the proposal will go to the Independent Planning Commission.
Cleanaway has done its best to allay concerns saying the facility will have the same high safety credentials and provide the same economic benefits as world class overseas facilities.
It says the WSERRC will use best practice combustion technology and a flue gas treatment system to convert 500,000 tonnes of waste each year into electricity, enough to power 79,000 homes and businesses.
‘Cancer in Western Sydney’s lungs’
But not everyone’s convinced.
Blacktown City Council has raised a long list of concerns in a 50 page submission which raises questions about air quality, waste water, risks to human health and the visual impact of the facility.
“We object to this proposal until all our concerns detailed in council’s submission are comprehensively addressed,” it says.
Mayor Tony Bleasdale says council also commissioned an independent review of the EIS which found Cleanaway had failed to demonstrate the social and economic benefits of the development, or show it was in the public interest.
“The proposed plant is located within the Western Sydney Parklands – famously described by a number of NSW Premiers as ‘the lungs of Western Sydney’ and we fear that this development could be the ‘cancer’ of those lungs,” Cr Bleasdale said in a statement.
The submission was being put to a Blacktown City Council for official endorsement on November 25.
Fairfield council, which is the LGA closest to the site, has also lodged an objection saying that “without independent advice it’s uncertain whether the facility will have unacceptable negative impacts on the environment and community”.
“Furthermore, analysis of the prevailing seasonal winds accompanying the proposal indicate that these areas of Fairfield City (south east and south west of the site), represent the areas of Western Sydney with the highest potential to be impacted by emissions from the proposal,” Fairfield’s submission says.
Meanwhile, WaterNSW said it objected to the proposal in its current form because of insufficient detail addressing the agency’s concerns about risks to the Warragamba pipelines, and warned that “site preparation and construction can pose particular risks to WaterNSW infrastructure”.
But Cleanaway says energy-from-waste is the missing link in Australia’s waste reduction and landfill diversion goals and a safe and sustainable way to manage waste.
It says energy from waste avoids the generation of methane that occurs when material breaks down in landfill, and that the WSERRC will potentially create a net reduction of climate change gases equivalent to more than 390,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.
It says the facility will create more than 2,000 jobs across three years of construction and 50 high skilled jobs long term, and will include an education centre where visitors can learn about waste as a resource, recycling, the circular economy and energy from waste.
Cleanaway Project Director James Pearce says the WSERRC will use safe and well proven energy-from-waste technology and create environmental, economic and social benefits for Western Sydney and NSW.
“Community safety is paramount,” he said in a statement last month.
“We have designed this Centre to meet the highest standards in the world for energy-from-waste. This technology has been used around the world for more than 50 years has and has continuously improved in the intervening years.”
There are currently more than 2,000 energy from waste facilities operating aroud the world, according to Europe-based energy technology market consultants ecoprog.
The period for public comment on the WSERRC is now closed.
*Government News previously reported that the project had received 50 objecting submissions. This figure was incorrect and has been amended.
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