Mackay Sugar to invest in clean energy

Mackay Sugar is to receive a $9.1 million grant from the Australian government in order to invest in clean energy solutions and help lower electricity prices in the region.

The funding, in addition to a $17.9 million commitment from Mackay Sugar, will go towards a major boiler upgrade at the company's Marian Mill, as well as construction of bagasse handling facilities at its Racecourse Mill.

Bagasse is a by-product of sugarcane and sorghum stalk processing, which can be used as biofuel.

It is hoped that these latest projects will allow Mackay Sugar to generate enough renewable energy to meet one-third of Mackay City's electricity needs, reducing the reliance on other electricity suppliers.

"Mackay Sugar will have significantly lower energy costs by reducing its black coal consumption," The minister for industry and innovation and minister for climate change and energy efficiency Greg Combet said yesterday (August 28).

"The company will also use its surplus bagasse to generate steam and electricity, which will further reduce its costs and even allow the company to earn money by selling renewable power to the grid."

The funding will come from the federal government's Clean Technology Food and Foundries Investment Program, which is financed by carbon tax revenue and designed to give businesses the opportunity to develop and commercialise innovative ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Mackay Sugar is Australia's second largest sugar milling company, and boasts an annual turnover of more than $300 million. 

Posted by Charlie Moore