New energy from waste regulation now in place

Communities and industry in NSW now have certainty around acceptable locations for energy from waste with the new energy from waste Regulation now in place.

The Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Amendment (Thermal Energy from Waste) Regulation 2022 puts into law the Government’s Energy from Waste Infrastructure Plan to strategically locate energy from waste in four designated locations in NSW to maximise efficiencies in infrastructure, waste management, innovation and energy recovery.

The Regulation ensures that where it is used, energy from waste plays a sustainable role as NSW transitions towards a circular waste and resource recovery framework.

All proposed energy from waste facilities must also adhere to strict air quality controls, and meet and exceed world best practice air quality standards as set out in the Energy from Waste Policy Statement.

The four designated locations are West Lithgow Precinct, Parkes Activation Precinct, Richmond Valley Regional Jobs Precinct, and Southern Goulburn-Mulwaree Precinct.

Outside of these precincts the thermal treatment of waste is prohibited with some limited exceptions such as where:

  • an activity has been specifically excluded from the definition of ‘thermal treatment’ (such as autoclaving, thermal treatment of biosolids and thermal treatment of waste plastic for genuine plastic recycling)
  • it was lawfully established and operating before the Regulation commenced today (8 July 2022), or
  • using waste would replace a less environmentally sound fuel being used to power existing industrial or manufacturing processes on site.

All energy from waste proposals, regardless of location, are still required to comply with environmental and planning laws, including the Energy from Waste Policy Statement.

A copy of the new Regulation, and the exempt area maps are available on the EPA website: