30MW Condong and Broadwater plants in NSW almost complete; noxious camphor trees may be used as fuel
First 9 of 9 paragraphs shown The New South Wales Sugar Milling Co-operative was talking to landholders and contractors about options for harvesting the invasive camphor tree to supply a supplementary fuel to its two cogeneration plants.
Construction of two plants almost complete: Construction of the 30-megawatt Condong and Broadwater plants which would provide electricity to the mills, with surplus going back to the State grid was almost complete, wrote Shan Goodwin in The Land (15/11/2007, p. 39).
Camphor laurel fuel supplement: Most fuel would come from sugar cane bagasse, the waste matter after crushing, but as much as 40,000 tonnes of camphor laurel fuel would be needed to supplement the first year of operation at Condong alone.
Two million tonnes available: There were seven million tonnes of the timber standing in north-eastern NSW, at least two million of which was practically available for harvest. The tree was introduced to the region a century ago to provide shade on dairy farms and around schools. But with the decline of the dairy industry and increase in land given over to hobby farming, the tree, which established as a monoculture, had become a serious environmental threat.
Camphors a noxious weed: Camphors were declared a noxious weed in Kyogle, Lismore and Richmond Valley local government areas, with landholders required to treat everything under three metres and to have a management plan for larger trees. In other shires, weeds authorities had not declared it noxious because its control was considered impossible. It cost as much as $5000 a hectare to remove, but the sugar industry move could remove 95 per cent of that cost. Camphor-infested land could be converted into hardwood plantations, established to environmental plantings of native species or returned to pasture.