Sugar company bosses to outline plans for biofuels energy future

MSF Sugar's plans to become a leader in green energy are progressing well with civil works for the company's new $75 million power plant at the Tableland Mill being completed.

With the completion of the first stage of the project, work will now start on the major component of the power plant, a high-pressure boiler which will turn biomass waste into energy.

Construction of the plant started in May and is on track to be completed by July 2018.

The plant will use a 100 per cent renewable sugarcane fibre, known as bagasse, to produce 24 megawatts of electricity – enough to power every house in the Tableland region.

The first shipments of fabricated structural steel are expected to arrive at the mill this month with MSF Sugar Tableland Green Energy Power Plant Project Manager Mark Magnanini saying it would be used to construct the plant’s heart, a biomass-fired 87 bar high pressure boiler.

“With all of the design and engineering now complete, the team’s excited to be moving into the construction phase,” he said.

He said project team members would travel to Thailand in September to start detailed planning around training, operation and maintenance with parent company, Mitr Phol.

As the cornerstone of MSF Sugar’s move into the biofuels industry, the power plant is attracting interest from all sectors of the community.


The news came on the same day that the Australian Energy Market Operator warned the national electricity market was struggling to provide a reliable supply as coal-fired power stations shut down.

The AMEO warned that the southern states could face blackouts during summer as demand increases and people switch on the airconditioners to survive the heat.

While the dire warnings apply to some parts of the country, Treasurer and Minister for Energy Curtis Pitt was quick to point out that Queensland's supply was secure and the sunshine state had enough energy left over to supply to other areas.

"The AEMO report predicts that Queensland’s electricity generation, which is underpinned by coal and gas-fired generators and an increasingly diverse mix of renewable energy and supporting technologies, will be able to meet expected demand in all forecast scenarios,” he said.

“In fact, Queensland’s supply is so secure, we will continue to export electricity supply interstate which means we can help cover predicted shortfalls in southern states due to extreme weather conditions like the heatwaves last summer."


The story behind MSF's power plant – and the vision to transform the company into a modern, integrated sugarcane business – will be the focus of the September meeting of the Cairns Chamber of Commerce.

MSF Sugar’s chief executive officer Mike Barry, and general manager business development, Hywel Cook, will deliver a presentation on the company’s future and what it means TNQ to chamber members.

The chamber meeting will be held on September 15 at the Shangri-La Hotel from 11-30am to 2pm, for more information, click here.