Heat on over energy plant

An artist’s impression of the proposed Hazelmere pyrolysis plant.
An artist’s impression of the proposed Hazelmere pyrolysis plant.

A public meeting at Midland Town Hall at 6pm this Thursday will allow community members to query project officers and consultants about the proposal.

Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council will advocate the establishment of a three-megawatt plant at the Hazelmere Recycling Centre on Lakes Road.

The plant will process wood destined for landfill into fine wood particles and chips.

If approved, the plant will indirectly heat wood chip in the absence of oxygen (a process called pyrolysis) to produce enough power for 1600 homes. EMRC chairman Alan Pilgrim said the review outlined the proposal and its potential effects on air quality in accordance with Environmental Protection Authority requirements.

‘I am pleased to see that the results of the report indicate that the technology will meet environmental and health standards,’ he said.

‘EMRC is making the review widely available for the community, and I strongly encourage anyone interested in the plant to read the document and come along to the information session.’

Many local residents have already expressed opposition to the proposal.

Resident and Hazelmere Progress Association member Peter Graham said the group met last week to discuss the plan. ‘The motion I put to the HPA was to support having a recycling plant, a tip shop and the original proposal for the inclusion of a recycling learning centre,’ he said.

‘However, we unanimously opposed the implementation of a pyrolysis plant at the site.

‘The reasons I put forward in the motion was that the environmental study done by the EMRC uses information from a study done for another plant at Red Hill, which was then transplanted into the Hazelmere environmental report.

‘The air movement patterns are different there on the top of the scarp and there are also fewer houses in close proximity.’

The public environmental review is available for comment until June 3.