Energy plant in councils’ hands

Councils are to decide the fate of Te Awamutu’s proposed waste to energy plant, following the conclusion of a lengthy information gathering process.

Global Contracting Solutions (GCS) applied for resource consent to build a waste to energy plant on Te Awamutu’s Racecourse Road in February. The company was required to complete a “section 92” request for additional information by both the Waikato Regional Council and Waipā District Council.

Project director Adam Fletcher and CEO Roger Wilson. Photo: Benjamin Wilson

Their proposed power plant, dubbed Paewira, is designed to incinerate 150,000 tonnes of waste derived fuel annually, extract recyclable materials and produce 15 megawatts of power.

That would power Te Awamutu’s homes in the summer.

Global Contracting Solutions submitted the requested information to the councils on September 1.

“It took a bit longer than we had hoped, but we wanted to be thorough with it,” said project director Adam Fletcher.

“We have put our best foot forward; it is now up to them to judge. It is trusting that they can hopefully not be swayed by a loud minority, who have a place in the waste scheme of things, to take a broad enough view of the waste environment to see that we do have a part to play.”

Fletcher said they were required to provide clarification around the plant’s acoustics, transportation movements, its potential impact to local roads and intersections, its impact on local water infrastructure, and their management of stormwater outflow, amongst other things.

A new digital illustration of what the proposed power plant will look like, with GCS’s planting ambitions surrounding it.

“They can still come back and ask us more questions, but only about questions that they’ve already asked, they can’t ask any new ones,” he said.

After submitting their initial resource consent application, GCS came under criticism from Zero Waste Network Aotearoa and other pro-recycling and environment proponents. They raised environmental and emission concerns and warned the plant would be detrimental to a healthy recycling landscape.

But GCS say supporting recycling infrastructure has always been their priority.

“That has always been our position, we want to maximise recycling and the extraction and recovery of resources. We would be looking at dealing with what cannot be recovered,” said Global Metal Solutions chief executive Roger Wilson.

“We think as much waste that can be recovered should be recovered.”

Fletcher says that communicating the plant’s role in the recycling and waste landscape is difficult.

“That is the hard part, people have their views, which they’re entitled to, we just hope that they take a broad enough understanding of this technological approach to practical waste management.”


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