For many years I have commented on the fact that the Waste Management Plan [first mooted in about 2008] was never completed. Now, that exporting rubbish to China is no longer an option, Councils all over Australia are belatedly recognising that it is one of the most important issues facing Council and could get very expensive.
About 20 years ago Best Energies proposed to the Darwin City Council a waste management system that used pyrolysis to incinerate waste with little GHG emissions and resulting in the production of Agrichar – a good method of increasing Soil Carbon levels. The company has moved on to become Pacific Pyrolysis and now have a number of demonstration facilities. The benefits of pyrolysis are further explained and more information about municipal waste management, including finance options are easily obtained.
A study conducted by the Waste Authority and the Environmental Protection Authority has found Waste to Energy plants can be introduced in Western Australia in an environmentally acceptable manner, but these state-of-the-art plants must meet internationally recognised standards for best practice, with community consultation essential. In joint advice to the Minister for Environment, the review found a cautious approach to the introduction of waste to energy plants would provide another option in the long term solution to waste management in WA, without unacceptable environmental consequences.
“The EPA and Waste Authority are confident that, subject to appropriate regulation, along with the matching of suitable technologies to types of waste input and appropriate plant scale, waste to energy plants employing best practice can be operated with acceptable impacts to our community,” EPA Chairman Paul Vogel and Waste Authority Chairman Marcus Geisler said. The green light to proceed has now been given.
An example of the technology being employed in WA can be seen at: http://www.phoenixenergy.com.au
Current waste management providers in Darwin have technology that can be immediately applied.
If Council had grasped the nettle and used financing options such as CEFC and grants from ARENA when waste management was first proposed a decade ago, ratepayers would have state of the waste to energy systems now supplementing the renewable energy produced from Shoal Bay. No further research is necessary, simply call for quotes and make a decision. Who knows, properly run, DCC could provide facilities for waste management across the Top End. It’s not too late to include a proposal in this year’s budget and have it up and running by 2021.