SUGAR cane waste will be used to power a renewable energy baseload power station in Far North Queensland when construction is complete in mid 2018.
Construction of the $75 million project at MSF Sugar’s Tablelands mill hit a major milestone today with the delivery of a 90 tonne turbine.
MSF Sugar General Manager of Business Development Hywel Cook said the stand alone baseload power station was a game-changer for the industry.
Mr Cook said traditionally, sugar cane fibre, or bagasse, had been used to generate only enough power to run the mill.
This power station will generate 24 megawatts, which is about three and a half times more electricity and enough to power 28,000 homes.
“We are building what we look at as a stand alone power station,” Mr Cook said.
“It’s the first built for about a decade in sugar mills.
“At the moment, it’s the only baseload power station being built in Australia and it is renewable energy.
“It is a positive story as it ticks both boxes, being a baseload power station and renewable energy.”
“It means we will be a major provider of electricity to the grid.”
Mr Cook said a feasibility study for a second, larger power station at South Johnstone mill was under way and he hoped approvals would be granted next month.
The South Johnston power station would generate 32MW, with the ability to power around 40,000 homes.
“It is really exciting what is happening in the sugar cane industry at the moment,” Mr Cook said.
“It is giving growers confidence to invest in the industry as we are looking for new ways to move forward.
“It is really exciting to be building something that is needed and desired by the general community and providing a renewable energy source.”
Atherton grower John Gallo said the project had injected renewed confidence in the industry.
“For us as growers the real benefit is the security it provides as they need the sugar to keep the power plant going,” Mr Gallo said.
“It improves opportunities for the future that cane is also needed as an energy source.”