In February 2018, the Australian Industrial Ecology Network will host its third annual Forum on Waste to Energy (WtE) in Ballarat, Victoria. The Directors of the AIEN and the organising committee warmly invite you to participate take part in the discussions, networking opportunities and social functions that have made previous events so successful.

In 2016, the first Forum took a general view of the technologies associated with extracting energy from waste and some of the issues confronting government authorities at all levels, as they contend with current trends in managing municipal solid waste.

The second Forum concentrated on matters relating to the business of converting waste into energy. The overarching theme then was the future of WtE in Australia. Issues canvassed included the availability of suitable feedstock, process economics, markets for the energy generated and accessing those markets. It was a particularly thought-provoking, useful and enjoyable event.

In 2018, the Forum will again focus on a critical element of the waste to energy industry; Building the case…Two endings to this phrase encapsulate the theme: …the case for WtE as a strategy and… the case for a WtE project. Two quite different scenarios but each drawing insights from previous Fora and each providing opportunities for delving into the issues that are so often critical for success.

In previous years, the Forum has been a two-day event. However, in 2018 the Forum will extend to two and a half days, owing to the interest expressed by past attendees in having more time during sessions for discussion. The programme will again include an entire session devoted to a genuine, two-way conversation between members of the audience and a panel of invited representatives from various government and private sector organisations.

In strategic terms, WtE is being discussed more and more in Australia, especially when authorities are required to decide on options or proposals. Making the case for a project touches on all aspects of successful implementation including planning, technology selection, financing, construction and operation. In both scenarios, effective stakeholder engagement – especially with the community – is now understood to be absolutely essential. The question is: how does this all happen in practice?