Australia’s waste-to-energy market ready to grow

The Australian waste-to-energy market, though nascent, is poised for growth. With the first specific energy-from-waste policy to be finalized by New South Wales Energy Protection Agency, municipal solid waste (MSW)-to-energy is expected to pick up pace with a few projects in New South Wales and Western Australia already in the works; pending approval or funding, according to Frost & Sullivan.

It is not all early stage though. Biomass and biogas power generation – due to the simplicity of the feedstock, energy conversion efficiency and environment impact – have been segments that have seen consistent activity for some time now.

Biogas power generation still needs a kick-start from the government in the form of Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) or feed-in tariff or other forms of support for it to really experience strong growth that is comparable to what has happened in Germany (almost 2,000 biogas power generation plants).

The MSW sector is expected to see strong growth between 2015 and 2020, with installed capacity reaching around 80 MW and MSW treatment capacity about 12 million tonnes per annum by 2020. The plant value for the biomass and biogas sector is expected to witness compound annual growth of 3.2 percent between 2013 and 2020.

For the biomass and biogas power generation sector, the regulatory framework and technologies are relatively mature. Currently, biomass power generation is largely comprised of bagasse, black liquor (at paper and pulp plants), and wood waste power generation. The channel into the Australian biomass and biogas sector includes direct sales to project owners and through engineering procurement and construction contractors. The suppliers’ capability and operational stability are among the most critical selection criteria identified in the market by project owners.

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