News

Firm's $30m carbon bill

City firm Thiess is set for a huge carbon tax bill. Ishrar Ali is manager of Landfills, Transfer Stations, and Transport.
City firm Thiess is set for a huge carbon tax bill. Ishrar Ali is manager of Landfills, Transfer Stations, and Transport. David Nielsen

THE operator of the Swanbank landfill site must find up to $10 million per year to cover the cost of the carbon tax.

But that is just a fraction of what the Stanwell gas-fired power station next door will fork out.

The 385 megawatt Swanbank E power station will have a carbon tax bill of about $19,090,000 - the result of forecast emissions of 830,000 tonnes.

The massive landfill site behind Swanbank power station was set up by Thiess Services to turn household waste into electricity 10 years ago.

Even though it was designed as a green-energy project, the site will incur a hefty tax from 2014 onwards.

The company has refused to go into detail about how it will raise the money to pay the tax, except to say that costs will be passed onto its customers which include Ipswich and Brisbane city councils.

Both councils have blamed higher waste disposal charges for passing above-inflation rates increases this year.

Each of the 600,000 tonnes of waste that is stored at the landfill each year produces about 45kg of methane.

Under the carbon tax, methane gas emissions incur a penalty 21 times greater than carbon dioxide, but until recently, that gas was used to produce electricity in lieu of fossil fuels.

The closure of Swanbank B power station means Thiess is now looking into alternatives ways to use its methane to make electricity.

Methane gas capture from landfills is nothing new in Australia, in fact over 20 years it has reached the point where it is responsible for contributing 12 per cent of the country's 20 per cent renewable energy target.

Thiess Services claims that one year of removing methane gas from the Swanbank landfill and turning it into electricity is equivalent to removing 36,000 cars from the road or planting 13,500 hectares of trees.

A spokesman from the company said current legislation was also dampening any incentive to become more efficient.

However, current federal legislation assumes that only 75% of gas can be effectively captured from a landfill.

"For example, if a landfill generates 100,000 tonnes of gas and captures 75,000 tonnes it has a liability of 25,000 tonnes," the Thiess spokesman said.

"If the same landfill captures 90,000 tonnes of gas, the legislation assumes that it generated 120,000 tonnes, because 90,000 is 75% of 120,000."

A spokeswoman for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Minister Greg Combet said that under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Determination, landfill operators could choose from three options for reporting the percentage of methane gas captured.

Method 1, which is used by Thiess, is designed for landfills without information about how fast waste decays at the facility.

The 75% rule does not apply under method 2, where a facility that no longer receives waste may take measurements and demonstrate capture rates as high as 90-95%.

Green Power

  • Two Ipswich City Council-owned landfills on Whitwood Rd, Ebbw Vale, stopped receiving waste on July 1 this year, but will continue to be used to produce methane for power generation.
  • Because of this, they will not incur a carbon tax bill.
  • The Whitwood Rd operation produces 8500 MWh of electricity per annum, which is sold back into the grid

Topics:  bill, carbon tax




Six injured in three car pile up

Paramedics on scene of peak-hour multi-vehicle prang

Man accused of indecently assaulting health worker

A view of the Ipswich Hospital from the corner of East and Court Street. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times

It's alleged the attacker threatened the woman with a knife

Woolworths latest: Uncertainty hangs over Ipswich site

NSW and Victoria to be hit by retrenchments

Latest deals and offers

Kim Kardashian West bemused by selfie 'drama'

Kim didn't expect her naked selfie to cause the stir it did

Alicia Vikander hasn't been home since Oscars

Alicia Vikander "hasn't been home" for nearly nine months.

Tom Hiddleston not worried about relationship attention

Attention doesn't bother 'authentic' Hiddleston

Robbie Williams and Ayda Field to expand family?

Robbie Williams and Ayda Field want more children.

Licking incident bars Ariana from performing at White House

Ariana Grande has been blocked from performing at the White House

Taylor Swift's ex throws support behind Kanye West

Calvin Harris shares a sing-along with Kanye West

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

The climb is slow but property on the way up

Michael Matusik, director of Matusik Property Insights.Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin

The improvement would be mild when compared to past cycles