MSF Sugar will build a $75 million ‘green’ power station at its Tableland Sugar Mill near Mareeba.
The power station will sugar cane fibre, known as bagasse, to produce 24 megawatts of electricity – enough to power every house in the Tableland region.
MSF Sugar chief executive officer Mike Barry described the project as a significant confidence booster for both the region and the local sugar industry.
“This is the first of hopefully four green power stations to be built by MSF Sugar, with the others in the early stages of planning for construction at our sugar mills at Mulgrave near Cairns, South Johnstone near Innisfail and at Maryborough,” he said.
“The go-ahead for the remaining three green power stations will depend on the success of the Tableland project as well as stability in the relevant legislation.
“If all four green power stations are completed it will equate to approximately 100 megawatts of renewable power generation capacity and a capital spend of about $500 million.
“Building this renewable power station is the next step in our long-term vision to transition our industry towards producing a range of higher value products, moving away from mills that produce solely raw sugar.”
MSF said the Tableland project would create about 80 jobs during the construction phase, plus opportunities for local firms and contractors.
Some $40 million – more than half the project cost – is expected to be spent on locally sourced labour and materials.
Construction is expected to commence in May 2017 with completion planned for June 2018.