Mackay’s famous sugar industry will soon provide another benefit to the community: green power.
Mackay Sugar Limited is constructing a $120 million cogeneration plant, which will provide up to a third of Mackay’s power needs by the year 2012.
The plant will produce around 35 megawatts of electricity by utilising a waste product of sugar cane – bagasse.
Mackay Sugar Chairman of Directors, Eddie Westcott, says the industry has long been using bagasse to run their factories.
“Every sugar mill in Queensland generates its own electricity, and most mills would generate a surplus that goes out into the grid. At the moment we generate about 8-10 megawatts that go back into the Mackay grid, and when we do our cogeneration project, that will jump up to about 35 megawatts, so that is a quantum leap from our combined mills here,” he says.
Up until now, excess bagasse was simply incinerated.
The cogeneration plant has been in the planning stage for six years, but has recently been given a kick-start by the Federal Government’s renewable energy targets, which will require electricity users to source 20 percent of their power from renewable energy sources by the year 2020.
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