Landfill gas extraction moving closer
CLARENCE Valley Council will push ahead with a $594,000 gas extraction unit for a landfill site despite uncertainty over the future of the carbon credit system following the federal election.
On Tuesday the council voted 8-1 to accept the tender from Landfill Gas Industries Pty Ltd to supply a landfill gas capture and destruction system for Grafton Regional Landfill.
Despite enthusiasm for the project, Councillor Karen Toms was a lone voice urging caution from the council.
She urged council to defer making a decision on the tender for a month to see what the new Federal Government planned to do with the carbon credit system.
She was particularly worried the company, which has contracts with nine other councils, mainly in NSW and Queensland, was heavily exposed in this area.
Cr Toms said the company had long-term contracts with a number of councils which relied on prices for carbon trading which might not be applicable if the government scrapped carbon tax legislation.
"What happens if they go belly up in the next two years?" Cr Toms asked.
The council's director of works and civil, Troy Anderson, said the tender review committee assessed the company as being in a sound position, but said there was always an element of risk in any project.
Mayor Richie Williamson pointed out the council was not exposed to a long association with LGI.
"The contract is not for the operation of the system, we're operating it," he said.
Cr Williamson said the plant was scheduled to be operating by March 2014. Councillors were also warned delays in accepting the tender could also be costly for council.
Director of environment, planning and community Des Schroder said the plant was an essential part of the council's measures to avoid a $180,000 penalty it will be forced to pay if the landfill emissions exceed 25,000 tonnes.
Mr Schroder said even with lower than planned revenues the plant would pay for itself in four years.
Cr Andrew Baker said he could not see any advantage in deferring a decision for a month, pointing out the council could make a rescission motion at its next meeting if necessary. He said nine other councils choosing the company was a vote of confidence in it.