New Grangemouth incinerator claims to prevent landfilling a fifth of Scotland’s annual waste

19th December

By Brian Donnelly  @BrianDonnellyHTBusiness Correspondent

Image of Earls Gate Energy Centre and Edward Northam, head of GIG Europe

Image of Earls Gate Energy Centre and Edward Northam, head of GIG Europe

WORK on a new £210 million Energy from Waste plant that will prevent the equivalent of a fifth of Scotland’s total annual landfilled from going underground each year is under way after financial close was announced by its partners. 2 comments

The project in Grangemouth was launched by Edinburgh-based Brockwell Energy, which funded and led the development over the past three years, and the Green Investment Group (GIG), also rooted in the Scottish capital, and is described as having "unparalleled environmental credentials".

Earls Gate Energy Centre (EGEC) is the first investment in Scotland for GIG (formerly the Green Investment Bank) since it was privatised by Macquarie last year.

Brockwell will retain 50 per cent of EGEC while GIG together with its co-investor Covanta Energy will acquire the other 50% of EGEC though a jointly owned vehicle.

The move will "future-proof full time local jobs", said Alex Lambie, Brockwell Energy's chief executive.

It is claimed the heat and power generated will make it one of the most efficient EfW plants in the UK.ADVERTISING

The EGEC facility will prevent 216,000 tonnes of household and commercial waste going to landfill each year - about a fifth of the country's annual total - and provide low-carbon heat and power to four local industries.

The remaining electricity will be exported to the grid.

Mr Lambie said: "The success of EGEC reflects the skills and dedication of the Brockwell and GIG teams and delivers a new world-class renewable CHP (combined heat and power) facility to support the site.

"This is the first of a number of EfW projects that we will build over the next three years.

"As one of the most efficient plants in the UK, EGEC has unparalleled environmental credentials.

"The use of heat and power on-site will future-proof full-time local jobs."

He added: "It will also create roles during construction, including a range of professional, skilled and entry-level positions and apprenticeships."

Brockwell also aims to deliver community benefits focused on employment and training, support for local businesses and education programmes, it said.


Edward Northam, head of GIG Europe, above, said that 2017 saw Scotland recycle more waste than it sent to landfill.

He said that is "a fantastic achievement, but there remains a lack of capacity to unlock the value to businesses and households from converting residual waste into low-carbon energy".

He added: "The Earls Gate facility will play a major role in changing that.

"GIG is very proud of its Scottish roots and base in Edinburgh.

"Earls Gate is our nineteenth investment in Scotland and we’re delighted it will further support the decarbonisation of the Scottish economy."

Neil Partlett, chief executive of CalaChem, the chemical manufacturer and site utility service provider, said: "CalaChem has been a part of Grangemouth industry for almost 100 years.

"In addition to improved environmental performance and operational reliability, EGEC will enhance CalaChem’s international competitiveness by controlling overall energy costs."

The heat and power plant will use mixed household, commercial and industrial waste from the Central Belt that would otherwise enter landfills every year.

Matthew Mulcahy, of Covanta, said: "Today marks a significant milestone in our valued partnership with GIG, as Earls Gate represents the first of our four advanced UK development projects to reach financial close.

"The project is well-structured with long-term contracts on both waste and energy and will provide critical sustainable waste disposal capacity in Scotland.

"It will also greatly benefit the local economy by supplying neighbouring industry with reliable, low-carbon heat and power."


GIG was launched by the UK Government as GIB in 2012 to boost the green economy and sold last year to Australian bank Macquarie for a reported £2 billion.

EGEC, as GIG’s nineteenth Scottish project, follows a range of investments supporting sustainable economic growth in Scotland.

It says that by preventing volumes of waste equivalent to around 20% of Scotland’s total annual landfilled household waste from going to landfill, the facility will make a significant contribution to the local authority’s ability to achieve the goals of Scotland’s biodegradable municipal waste landfill ban, which is due to come into effect on January 2021.

Brockwell moved to "myth-bust" that "Scotland has too many incinerators", adding: "Although there are a number of EfW plants consented in Scotland, very few of these are expected to be built."

Permission to replace a gas-fired plant at Earls Gate was granted in January 2017.

100% Renewable Energy across Europe is More Cost Effective than the Current Energy System and Leads to Zero Emissions Before 2050

As climate discussions are underway among global leaders at COP24, the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference, a new report released Tuesday showcases the feasibility of a European energy transition to 100% renewable sources. The new scientific study shows that the transition to 100% renewable energy will be economically competitive with today’s conventional fossil fuel and nuclear energy system, and lead greenhouse gas emissions to zero before 2050, infromed Energy Watch Group.

The study’s financial case for an energy transition becomes even stronger when taking into account significant projected job growth and the indirect economic benefits for health, security, and the environment, that were not factored into the study.

Undertaken by LUT University and Energy Watch Group, the first-of-its-kind scientific modeling study has simulated a full energy transition in Europe across the power, heat, transport, and desalination sectors by 2050. The study’s publication came after approximately four and a half years of data collection, and technical and financial modeling under the research and analysis of 14 scientists.

“This report confirms that a transition to 100% renewable energy across all sectors is possible and not more expensive than today’s energy system,” said Hans-Josef Fell, former German parliamentarian and president of Energy Watch Group, during its COP24 press conference, “It demonstrates that Europe can switch to a zero-emission energy system. Therefore, European leaders can and should do much more for climate protection than what is currently on the table.”


Some of the study’s key findings:

  • The transition will require mass electrification across all energy sectors. Total power generation will exceed four to five times that of 2015, with electricity constituting for more than 85% of primary energy demand in 2050. Simultaneously, fossil fuels and nuclear are phased out completely across all sectors.
  • Electricity generation in the 100% renewable energy system will consist of the following mix of power sources: solar PV (62%), wind (32%), hydropower (4%), bioenergy (2%) and geothermal energy (<1%).
  • Wind and solar make up 94% of total electricity supply by 2050, and approximately 85% of the renewable energy supply will come from decentralized local and regional generation.
  • 100% renewable energy is not more expensive: The levelised cost of energy for a fully sustainable energy system in Europe remains stable, ranging from 50-60 €/MWh through the transition.
  • Europe’s annual greenhouse gas emissions decline steadily through the transition, from approximately 4200 MtCO2 eq. in 2015 to zero by 2050 across all sectors.
  • A 100% renewable power system will employ 3 to 3.5 mln people. The approximate 800,000 jobs in the European coal industry of 2015 will be zeroed out by 2050, and will be overcompensated by more than 1.5-mln new jobs in the renewable energy sector.

“The results of the study showcase that the current goals set forth under the Paris Agreement can and should be accelerated,” said Dr. Christian Breyer, professor for solar economy at Finland’s LUT University, “The transition to 100% clean, renewable energy is very realistic, right now, with the technology we have available today.”

The study concludes with policy recommendations to promote a swift uptake of renewable energy and zero-emission technology adoption. Primary measures promoted in the report include support of sector coupling, private investments, tax benefits, legal privileges, with a simultaneous phase out of coal and fossil fuel subsides. By implementing strong political frameworks, the report shows that a transition to 100% renewable energy can be realised even earlier than 2050.


Simulation of the energy transition in Europe is part of the study “Global Energy System based on 100% Renewable Energy”, co-funded by the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) and the Stiftung Mercator. State-of-the-art modeling, developed by LUT University, computes a cost-optimal mix of technologies based on locally available renewable energy sources for the world structured in 145 regions and determines a most cost-effective energy transition pathway for energy supply on an hourly resolution for an entire reference year. The global energy transition scenario is carried out in 5-year time periods from 2015 until 2050. The results are aggregated into nine major regions of the world: Europe, Eurasia, MENA, Sub-Saharan Africa, SAARC, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, North America and South America.


Energy Watch Group (EWG) is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan global network of scientists and parliamentarians. EWG conducts research and publishes independent studies and analyses on global energy developments. The mission of the organization is to provide energy policy with objective information.

LUT University has pioneered as a science university combining technology and business since 1969. It has been recognised in international rankings as one of the world’s top universities.Clean energy and water, a circular economy and sustainable business are pivotal questions for humankind. LUT University applies its expertise in technology and business to seek solutions to these questions. LUT University strongly promotes entrepreneurship stemming from its scientific research. An example of this is the business accelerator Green Campus Open, which supports new spin-off companies that are based on LUT’s research. LUT’s international science community consists of 6500 students and experts.



Scotland Prepares For The Future Of Landfill With Sector Plan

Posted on 11 December 2018 by Darrel Moore

An ambitious plan to drive environmental compliance at Scotland’s landfill sites, harness innovation and help the sector responsibly manage site closures and aftercare has been launched by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

SEPA’s Landfill Sector Plan is one of 16 sector plans being launched this year in line with the regulator’s One Planet Prosperity strategy. This reflects that, if everyone in the world lived as we do in Scotland, we would need three planets. There is only one.

In response to mounting scientific evidence about climate change, resource scarcity and security, the sector plans set out a range of actions to help all regulated businesses meet – and go beyond – their compliance obligations.

“This plan is ambitious,” says SEPA chief executive Terry A’Hearn. “It spells out how we will use our full suite of regulatory powers, including the creation of a new national enforcement team, in clearer and more powerful ways. It also sets out some new ways such as novel partnerships that we will develop and use to support innovation and transformation in this sector.

SEPA chief executive Terry A’Hearn – “The transition to a circular economy is an environmental and economic win-win for Scotland. That said, it’s important that we work to ensure operators responsibly manage site closures and aftercare.”

“As Scotland’s environmental regulator, we’ll work to ensure operators protect the environment from the impacts of landfilling and ensure that communities are safeguarded. As some wastes break down, they produce powerful emissions such as leachate (a highly polluting liquid that poses a risk to downgrading surface water quality and groundwater aquifers if not adequately contained, extracted and treated) and powerful greenhouse gases such as methane that contribute to climate change.”

There are currently 55 operational landfill sites and 217 non-operational sites regulated by SEPA in Scotland.

Scotland’s landfills provide a waste management solution for the disposal of around 4 million tonnes of waste each year. Over the next three years, SEPA expects to see between 1.3 million to 2 million tonnes of waste a year move from landfill as a result of the Scottish Government’s 2021 ban on the landfilling of biodegradable municipal waste.

Scotland’s globally ambitious circular economy strategy aims to safeguard resources for re-use, recycling and re-manufacturing in Scotland. Doing so will increasingly negate the need for landfill and the Scottish Government’s target is that by 2025, only 5% of waste will be disposed of via landfill.

“The transition to a circular economy is an environmental and economic win-win for Scotland,” Mr A’Hearn adds. “That said, it’s important that we work to ensure operators responsibly manage site closures and aftercare.”

All businesses that SEPA regulates in a sector use water, energy and raw materials to produce the products and services they sell. In doing so, they also create waste and emissions. Sector Plans aim to systematically identify the compliance issues that need to be tackled by sector – and help identify the biggest opportunities to support sectors in going beyond compliance.

In its Landfill Sector Plan, SEPA sets out a number of actions to improve compliance – and to go beyond compliance to help Scotland achieve its circular economy ambitions.

These include:

  • Focusing regulatory effort, including enforcement interventions, at sites with the worst compliance records and those with greatest community impact.
  • Supporting operators to prepare for the ban on landfilling biodegradable municipal waste from 1 January 2021 and the target of no more than 5% residual waste to landfill by 2025.
  • Working with operators to ensure that all extractable landfill gas is utilised or, where this is not technically feasible, converted into less harmful gases.
  • Identifying opportunities to help the landfill sector to develop and share best practice examples that support compliant operations.
  • Developing effective intervention strategies to disrupt and deter illegal activity in partnership with Police Scotland, local authorities, industry trade bodies, other UK environment agencies and other relevant partners.
  • Working with partners to support development of alternative products for landfill engineering, potentially reducing the reliance on virgin quarried clay.
  • Developing a forum for businesses to work in partnership with SEPA and other stakeholders to consider the sources of the energy used, with the aim of moving away from fossil fuels.
  • Working co-operatively with the landfill sector, communities and other partners to promote and develop sustainable land uses for restored landfills.

SEPA is also producing sector plans covering:

  • Chemicals Manufacturing
  • Crop Production
  • Dairy Processing
  • Dairy Production
  • Finfish Aquaculture
  • Forestry and Timber Production and Processing
  • Housing
  • Leather
  • Metals
  • Nuclear
  • Oil and Gas Decommissioning
  • Scotch Whisky
  • Strategic infrastructure (transport and utilities)
  • Tyre Sector
  • Water and Waste Water Sector

Read SEPA’s sector plans here.

Scotland to send millions of tonnes of waste to English landfills

Lack of EfW capacity in Scotland means waste will be diverted to English landfills, according to industry

Viridor’s Glasgow plant is “ramping up”
Viridor’s Glasgow plant is “ramping up”

A waste industry expert has told ENDS Scotland will be forced into sending up to a million tonnes of waste each year to English landfills because it does not have alternative options for dealing with the extra waste arising from its 2021 landfill ban on biodegradable waste.

Stephen Freeland, policy adviser at the Scottish branch of the Environmental Services Association (ESA), told ENDS that estimates from the Scottish government had found there would be a 950,000-tonne capacity shortfall. "Almost a million tonnes that has got nowhere to go," he said.

"Really we are looking at landfill in England – and there is nothing in the regulations to stop it – as potentially the only practical route until such time as the capacity gap in Scotland is closed," he said.

The comments come after the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) published minutes of a meeting between the association’s environment and economy board this week. COSLA said: "As it stands, it seems unlikely that the 2021 ban will be fully achievable. Work on delivery and on possible solutions will continue with future reports to the board likely."

COSLA says in the board document that it is working to establish a "realistic suite of options" that would enable all councils to meet the ban.

The Scottish government confirmed to ENDS that it was pushing ahead with the landfill ban, despite these concerns.

A spokesperson said: "We are committed to fully enforcing the ban on biodegradable waste to landfill as part of our commitment to a more circular economy. SEPA, Zero Waste Scotland and Scottish government officials are working closely with councils to help them prepare for the ban, and will provide comprehensive guidance to help authorities plan properly for the implementation of the ban."

The Scottish government says the main alternative to landfill is energy-from-waste, but there is currently only about 100,000 tonnes of EfW capacity in Scotland.

A number of Scotland-based EfW facilities should come into operation in the next few months. Viridor’s Glasgow plant is "ramping up" after completing steam blowing last month, while its Dunbar EfW plant is also close to being officially operational.

Germany-based MVV also started construction work on new plant to serve Dundee during the summer, although that is expected to replace an existing facility rather than adding new capacity.

Suez also said in September its under-construction Haverton Hill EfW plant in the North of England could take Scottish waste.

Another option the Scottish industry could explore is exporting the waste as refuse-derived fuel to mainland Europe for energy recovery. However, Brexit and the resulting unfavourable exchange rates leave a big question mark over how viable this route would be, according to Freeland.

"There is no option but to send the waste elsewhere," he said.

Freeland added that the Scottish government hoped landfilling in England would be a  short-term measure but he said it would be "years" before the capacity gap was closed.

England faces its own problems with waste treatment capacity. The latest waste management figures from the Environment Agency, revealed an increase in landfilling for the fourth year running and a continued decline in landfill capacity. This is combined with concerns that Brexit might hamper England’s waste exports to Europe and China closing its doors on waste imports.

Funding secured for Bridgwater EfW plant

30 NOVEMBER 2018by Elizabeth Slow

Infrastructure investor, Equitix, and environmental investment firm Iona Capital, have announced the planned development of a £72 million energy from waste facility in Bridgwater, Somerset.

The 7.7MW Resource Recovery facility will process around 100,000 tonnes of commercial and municipal refuse derived fuel (RDF). Construction is expected to start in Q1 2019 and the plant to begin commercial operation in 2021.

The £72 million energy from waste facility will be sited in Bridgwater, Somerset


Waste will be supplied by Geminor UK Limited – a leading exporter and supplier of Refuse Derived Fuel – under a long-term waste supply contract.

The project will be delivered under a turnkey design and build contract with STC Power SRL – a specialist in the supply of small-scale thermal energy plants. The company has delivered 20 facilities since 2001.

Pinnacle Power Limited has been appointed as the operations and maintenance contractor. Pinnacle Power is part of the Pinnacle Group and is a provider of construction and operations services for district heat and power projects.

According to Iona Capital, the facility is based on the conventional combustion of RDF with heat recovered via a boiler to generate power from a steam turbine. The grate use technology was consented earlier this year. The facility has secured a 15 year power purchase agreement with electric utilities firm, Engie.

‘Huge opportunities’

“This is a sector that we see huge opportunities in and are very excited to be working with our partners, Iona Capital, in developing this top-quality, high-impact facility.”

Geoff Jackson

Nick Ross, director and co-founder of Iona Capital said: “We are very pleased to partner Equitix in the financing of the Bridgwater project which is the first of a number of planned investments in the EfW sector.”

Developer Bridgwater Resource Recovery secured planning permission for the facility in January 2015. Once completed, it will employ up to 25 full-time staff.


Based in London, Equitix describes itself as a leading investment firm that manages over £3 billion. The firm’s investment strategy focuses on small to mid-cap infrastructure projects, predominantly located in the UK, covering a range of sectors with a focus on social infrastructure and renewable energy.

Iona Capital

Iona Capital has managed funds on behalf of institutional pension funds and invested these in long term projects within the UK bio-energy and low carbon markets.. It has offices in London and York.