A Council proposal for a bioenergy facility at the Byron Bay Sewage Treatment Plant (STP), which is also a popular birdwatching location, is now before the public for comment.
Council staff say that if constructed, ‘it will be a first-of-its-kind facility in Australia’.
Available on Council’s website, the extensive 26-part Development Application (DA) proposes the facility would operate five-and-a-half-days a week, with five staff employed, and an additional 30 related jobs.
Funding is still being sought from federal and state sources, say Council. Staff are yet to reply to The Echo as to the cost to prepare the DA, and associated cost to submit the DA.
In April, Council’s own finance department flagged concerns that another large Council project, a 5MW Myocum solar farm, poses a ‘high degree of risk’.
The bioenergy facility was one of many Council projects identified as being at risk of losing funding, within the solar farm report.
A height variation request of 4.57m above the maximum 9m building height is sought for the bioenergy facility, and consultants claim, ‘No alternative design solution will allow the [facility] to operate successfully without exceeding 9m in height from the existing ground level’.
Council’s Senior Project Manager for the bioenergy facility project, John Hart, said the facility would use dry anaerobic digestion technology to convert organic waste into renewable energy and compost.
‘Over 20,000 tonnes a year of the region’s organic waste is currently transported to Queensland, so this facility presents an opportunity for Byron Shire to take control of its own organic waste with a local solution’, Mr Hart said.
He added the facility would reduce carbon emissions ‘by up to 20 per cent’, and produce ‘between 3 to 4 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy per year’.