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Byron Shire
August 5, 2021

Large bioenergy facility DA before public

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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. 

Byron Council project manager, John Hart. Image Paul Bibby

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’.


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3 COMMENTS

  1. Despite repeated requests Council has not identified the Greenhouse Emissions from burning the bioenergy plants carbon sourced Methane, nor have they responded on the alternate methods of dealing with Green Waste that release little or no CO2 or Methane. Council already offsets its Electricity so no further alleged reduction in emissions is possible. Council also only counts some of its carbon emissions in its Greenhouse Strategy, and does not count the emissions from the kerb side pick up, the trucks aprox 300km round trip to the Qld tip, or the emissions from Councils green waste dumped into the Qld tip. Councils aleged greenhouse reduction only falsely comes from the plants fake Green Energy Certificates (like the regional Sugar Plant that burns forest timber and sugar cane stalks which is catagorised as waste). Note that the DA also identifies wood (to be processed to create Methane) from other sources – in the US there is dedicated forest cut for their bioenergy Methane plants. This 13.5 metre high facility will have many truck movements and would turn this Award winning bird life sewerage farm into an industrial site pumping out greenhouse gas emissions from this expensive bioenergy plant.

  2. Not sure how carbon emissions are going to be reduced. The process generates methane which makes carbon dioxide when burnt.

  3. This must be an example of whimsical passions over finance…Magic Beans Alan. Looks like a push to be first rather than be accurate. Have you not seen the fields of electric cars in Europe that can’t be sold second hand because of the cost of replacement batteries?

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