In a first for Colac and the Barwon South West region, a biogas plant will be installed in Colac with the aid of a $1.5 million Victorian Government grant that will sustain the region’s vital food industry and supply clean energy to industry.
Member for Western Victoria Gayle Tierney MP represented the Regional and Rural Development Minister, Jacinta Allan, today to announce a $1.5 million regional infrastructure grant to Colac Power Company.
Ms Tierney said the Colac Biogas Plant Project would provide a new solution to the growing problem of organic waste from the region’s food industry, such as milk solids and meat scraps.
As a bonus, this organic waste could be used to produce clean, renewable energy to power food industry factories.
“The Colac Biogas Plant Project is a first for south-western Victoria, a fantastic project which provides a local solution to a local problem of how to dispose of organic waste,” Ms Tierney said.
“It will secure the region’s important food processing industry and jobs and enable the food industry to expand.”
The $5,982,140 project involves the installation of a biogas plant and co-generation system, and the processing of up to 25,000 tonnes a year of organic wastes received from the regions’ food processors to create methane-rich gas (biogas) that will be used to produce electricity and heat (as a byproduct).
Ms Tierney said the food processing industry was a major contributor to economic growth and employment in the region. The three major food processors in the region, Bulla Dairy Foods, Fonterra and CRF (Colac Otway), employ approximately 800 people in their operations.
“But the Colac Otway food industry is constrained by the lack of a long-term sustainable organic waste recycling or disposal system, which greatly limits expansion of existing industry and the attraction of new industry,” Ms Tierney said.
“The Colac Biogas Plant Project is both a solution to the waste disposal problem and a new clean energy generator that will offset greenhouse gas emissions from industry.”
The plant is to be built, owned and operated by a new private entity known as Colac Power Company Pty Ltd, a joint venture between Camperdown Compost Company Pty Ltd and Diamond Energy Pty Ltd.
The project intends to locate the biogas plant on land leased from the local abattoir, CRF (Colac Otway), and sell the energy generated by the plant to CRF, which currently meets its energy needs from non-renewable sources.
It’s expected the project will cut the abattoir’s greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent a year and divert up to 25,000 tonnes per year of organic waste from landfill.
Further the Colac Biogas Plant will produce around 925 tonnes a year of organic fertiliser as a by-product, to be sold separately.
The $1.5 million Victorian Government funding is from the State Government’s $14 million Water and Energy Efficiency initiative, introduced as part of the Moving Forward Update action plan.
Ms Tierney said the initiative was part of the Regional Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF).
The balance of project funding of $4,482,140 will be provided by the joint venture partners – Camperdown Compost Company Pty Ltd and Diamond Energy Pty Ltd.
“The RIDF is improving the competitive capacity of regional Victoria and enhancing economic development through investment, job creation and promoting export opportunities.
“The fund has invested more than $611 million in regional Victoria and has directly helped start 393 projects worth more than $1.6 billion.” (note these figures are as of close of business 30 June 2010)