Ipswich's $400m waste to energy plant 'complete rubbish'

A NEW $400 million power plant fuelled solely by landfill that could generate enough electricity to power up to 50,000 homes will be built at Ipswich.

News Queensland can reveal German company REMONDIS will build the state-of-the-art waste-to-energy plant at Swanbank.

State Development Minister Cameron Dick said the project would use between 300,000 and 500,000 tonnes of waste per year - about 20 per cent of the suitable rubbish headed to the state's landfill - to generate up to 50MW of renewable baseload electricity for Queensland households.

That includes rubbish that cannot otherwise be recycled, such as some plastics, manufactured timbers, textiles and furniture.

It is understood it will be the first of its kind in Queensland and one of the first in Australia to be built using the latest technology.

The plant could also be the answer to Ipswich's landfill woes with the area currently dubbed the state's dumping ground.

Construction is expected to start by 2020, subject to the project gaining all the relevant state approvals, with an application from REMONDIS pending.

An artist’s impression of the $400 million waste-to-energy plant
An artist’s impression of the $400 million waste-to-energy plant

"This project could create up to 200 jobs during construction and some 70 jobs during operations," Mr Dick said.

"Fifty megawatts of baseload power can power up to 50,000 homes, which is the equivalent to city similar in size to Cairns."

Power generated by the plant would be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Mr Dick said REMONDIS was expected to apply for the plant to be deemed a co-ordinated project meaning it will be overseen by Queensland's co-ordinator general.

"If the co-ordinator-general decides to declare this project a co-ordinated project it will help streamline approvals and fast-track delivery of this significant project," he said.

REMONDIS Queensland general manager Bret Collins said the plant would not need any extra waste to be trucked in to Swanbank, instead being able to rely on the existing landfill flow.

He said the company - which has been operating a landfill site at Swanbank for 20 years - also did not take any of the interstate waste that sparked last year's state inquiry into the southeast's rubbish problems.

Mr Collins said the company already operated multiple waste-to-energy plants overseas.

"Our 52 facilities recover energy from more than 4.2 million tonnes of waste per annum and we trade our own electricity into the European grid," he said.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington, when asked her opinion on the plan, responded: "This is complete rubbish".

"It appears like it is pie in the sky," Ms Frecklington said.

"There's no plan for it until 2020."

Ms Frecklington said it was also rubbish that the Government would soon start levying its waste levy.

"Why is a tax being hit on each and every Queenslander to fix up a problem that started with a Labor-aligned council?"

The State is using some of the more than $1 billion it is expected to raise through the waste levy to encourage projects like the waste to energy plant.

An artist’s impression of the $400 million waste-to-energy plant
An artist’s impression of the $400 million waste-to-energy plant