Trash talk on reducing Ballarat’s landfill at energy forum

A waste to energy plant is not yet up and running in Ballarat, but the city is this week driving discussion about the potential to take advantage of waste to energy technology around the country. 

Over 200 people from as far as Germany and North America attended the first day of the Australian Waste to Energy Forum at Mercure Ballarat on Tuesday, to build the case for waste to energy as a strategy and project. 

Australian Waste to Energy Forum chairman and Ballarat resident Barry Sullivan said Ballarat had the opportunity to be a driver in waste to energy innovation.

City of Ballarat has worked to established a waste to energy plant since 2012, but has failed to secure state or federal government funding. 

Ballarat City chief executive Justine Linley told The Courier in January that work was continuing to secure funding for the proposed waste to energy plant at the Ballarat West Employment Zone. 

Waste to energy facilities heat landfill to create a gas that can be used to generate electricity through a gas turbine. 

The technique is being investigated by many council’s and private industries to reduce landfill and create electricity. 

Mr Sullivan said a number of technologies were available. 

“Hopefully we will pick the right technology (for a Ballarat plant) and also hopefully we will look at waste as an asset or a fuel,” he said. 

Hepburn Shire Council secured $650,000 of state government funding for a waste to energy project to be established at the Daylesford Transfer Station in July. 

Hepburn Shire councillors John Cottrell and Don Henderson (left and right) with Macedon Ranges MP Mary-Anne Thomas (centre-left), Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio (centre) and mayor Sebastian Klein (centre-right).

Hepburn Shire councillors John Cottrell and Don Henderson (left and right) with Macedon Ranges MP Mary-Anne Thomas (centre-left), Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio (centre) and mayor Sebastian Klein (centre-right).

Mr Sullivan said he hoped to see more waste to energy projects developed in Australia over the coming year.

“The waste to energy industry has been going to happen soon for 10 years, but I think we are now at the stage where we are going to see projects actually developed,” he said. 

“Australia is cautious. We are not as advanced as Europe who have been doing a lot of waste to energy for years. It is an educational thing and that’s why this forum was started, to educate councils.” 

The Australian Waste to Energy Forum will run in Ballarat until Thursday. 

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