Energy from Waste Policy

The Queensland Government has developed the Energy from Waste Policy (PDF, 1.1 MB) (the Policy), which supports the implementation of the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy as one of its action plans.

Energy from Waste (EfW) refers to converting residual wastes into fuels, or energy in the form of electricity, heat, or cooling. EfW supports the transition towards a circular economy by enabling the value of residual waste, which has no practical reuse or recycling channel and would otherwise be disposed of, to be retained in the economy for longer.

The Policy provides guidance for establishing EfW facilities in Queensland and is not a statutory document. It outlines important technical, environmental, regulatory, and social or community outcomes for proponents of EfW facilities to achieve. These include demonstrating the operational performance of proposed facilities, engaging appropriately with potentially affected communities and being good neighbours, using only residual waste for energy recovery, and achieving high levels of energy recovery and environmental protection.

To align with priorities under the Queensland Biofutures 10-Year Roadmap and Action Plan, the Policy outlines a preference for industries that produce higher value commodities such as solid or liquid fuels from residual waste materials, over the production of electricity and heat.

The Policy has been updated (December 2021) to include a stronger focus on the Precautionary Principle and to highlight the importance of siting EfW facilities in locations that reduce potential impacts and unintended consequences. EfW facilities cannot be located within or near sensitive land uses in the urban footprint such as (but not limited to) residential, aged care or child care facilities.

Three new guiding principles have also been included in the updated Policy to outline where development of EfW facilities would be supported, namely where:

  • the proposed facility is consistent with the intended or planned development for the proposed location
  • situated away from current and future sensitive land uses
  • economic benefits can be realised through colocation with resource recovery industries in precincts supported by existing or planned infrastructure.

Supporting guideline

The Policy is supported by the EfW Guideline (PDF, 3.1 MB) (the Guideline), which provides further guidance on the scope, intention and application of the Policy. The Guideline provides case studies that showcase facilities achieving the Policy outcomes. The Guideline may be used by:

  • proponents when planning and conduction EfW activities
  • community members wishing to better understand the Policy and associated guidance provided to proponents, and how proponents are expected to address community and environmental concerns
  • state departments and local governments as a general reference for assessment and management of EfW facilities.