Scottish Government reinforces 2021 landfill ban

Published on 19 AUGUST 2019 by LetsRecycle.com 

Holyrood has restated its commitment to a landfill ban in 2021 – despite some speculation that the date could be pushed back to 2025, writes Lucy Pegg with additional reporting by Lucy Lewin.

A spokesperson for the Scottish government claimed that available evidence showed “significant progress” had already been made on meeting the 2021 target and most councils had long term or interim solutions in place.

The Scottish Government has reaffirmed its commitment to implementing a ban on biodegradable waste to landfill from 2021 (Stock photo)

The government statement comes in the wake of a letter written to the country’s Herald national newspaper. The letter was signed by former senior waste and environmental services staff at Scottish councils, who also suggested that the deadline was likely to change.

Colin Clark, Chris Ewing and John G Cunningham – previously of the Highland, Fife and Clackmannanshire* councils respectively – claimed in their August 5 letter to the Herald that the delay would be accompanied by a “fiscal measure”.

They wrote: “The 2021 landfill biodegradable waste ban illustrates perfectly the laissez-faire attitude of the government, which will over the coming days put the ban date back probably to 2025 (to coincide with the 2025 recycling and landfill target) doubtless with some lame fiscal measure which will not help.”

But the Scottish government defended itself against these comments, emphasising it was “committed to ending the practice of sending biodegradable municipal waste to landfill.

Preparations

Under the ban – which was passed under the Waste (Scotland) Regulations legislation in 2012 – no biodegradable municipal waste will be allowed to be sent to landfill sites from January 1, 2021.

Concerns that local authorities and commercial waste operators in Scotland have failed to make adequate preparations for the ban were raised in a Eunomia report to Holyrood in April (see letsrecycle.com story).

A Scottish Government spokesperson said they remained aware of these challenges, but those affected had been given adequate time to prepare.

They added: “It is therefore disappointing that there is uncertainty around the readiness of some councils. Our focus is on working with authorities who do not yet have a solution in place to identify ways in which they can comply with the ban. Further details will be available in due course.”

*Detail amended 14:30 19/08/2019


All the World’s Coal Power Plants in One Map

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All The World’s Coal Power Plants in One Map

The use of coal for fuel dates back thousands of years.

Demand for the energy source really started to soar during the Industrial Revolution, and it continues to power some of the world’s largest economies today. However, as the clean energy revolution heats up, will coal continue to be a viable option?

Today’s data visualization from Carbon Brief maps the changing number of global coal power plants operating between 2000 and 2018. The interactive timeline pulls from the Global Coal Plant Tracker’s latest data and features around 10,000 retired, operating, and planned coal units, totaling close to 3,000 gigawatts (GW) of capacity across 95 countries.

On the map, each circular icon’s size represents each plant’s coal capacity in megawatts (MW). The data also highlights the type of coal burned and the CO₂ emissions produced as a result.

A Precarious Power Source

Throughout its history, coal has been used for everything from domestic heating and steel manufacturing, to railways, gas works, and electricity. The fuel played a pivotal role in powering economic development and had a promising future with a flurry of plant openings.

However, in 2016, coal output dropped by 231 million tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe). Combined with a rapid slowdown of new plants being built, total coal units operating around the world fell for the first time in 2018.

With the remaining fleet of plants operating fewer hours than ever, plant closures have been triggered in South Africa, India, and China—steadily eroding coal’s bottom line. Industry trends have also forced a wave of coal companies to recently declare bankruptcy, including giants such as Peabody Energy and Alpha Natural.

Can Coal Compete with Clean Energy?

Today, coal is experiencing fierce competition from low-priced natural gas and ever-cheaper renewable power—most notably from wind and solar. Further, solar power costs will continue to decline each year and be cut in half by 2020, relative to 2015 figures.

chart

Source: Lazard

Natural gas surpassed coal as America’s #1 power source in 2016, with the total share of power generated from coal tumbling from 45% in 2010 to 28% in 2018. By next year, the role of coal is expected to be further reduced to 24% of the mix.

On the interactive visualization, the decline of coal is especially evident in 2018 as plant closures sweep across the map. The chart shows how several countries, notably China and India, have been closing many hundreds of smaller, older, and less efficient units, but replacing them with larger and more efficient models.

As of today, China retains the largest fleet of coal plants, consuming a staggering 45% of the world’s coal.


Use the above slider to see the difference between China’s coal plants in 2000 with projected future capacity.

Towards a New Reality

Coal is the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel, and for every tonne of coal burned there are approximately 2.5 tonnes of carbon emissions. The International Energy Agency states that all unabated coal must be phased out within a few decades if global warming is to be limited.

Despite these warnings, global coal demand is set to remain stable for the next five years, with declines in the U.S. and Europe offset by immediate growth in India and China. The latter are the main players in the global coal market, but will eventually see a gradual decline in demand as they move away from industrialization.

total phaseout of unabated coal is planned by 14 of the world’s 78 coal-powered countries, with many of these countries working to convert coal capacity to natural gas.

As the price of premium solar generation drops steadily, and innovation in renewable energy technology becomes more prominent, the world is shifting its attention to a clean energy economy. A global revival of coal looks less and less likely—and the fossil fuel might very well one day become obsolete.

Editor’s Note: The map uses WebGL and will not work on some older browsers. The map may also fail to load if you are using an ad-blocking browser plugin.


Sustainable finance 'growing rapidly' in Europe

15 August 2019, source edie newsroom

Europe's sustainable finance market experienced "rapid" growth during the first half of 2019, despite a challenging end to 2018, new analyses have concluded this week.

H2 of 2018 was widely regarded as a difficult period for green finance, but the market is showing signs of resurgence

H2 of 2018 was widely regarded as a difficult period for green finance, but the market is showing signs of resurgence

The first of these analyses comes from Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) Sustainable Finance Market Outlook for the second half of 2019. According to this report, Europe accounted for almost half (48%) of global sustainable debt insurance between January and July this year, with growth driven by both the corporate and government sectors.

Indeed, BNEF is predicting that at least $380bn of sustainable debt finance will be provided during 2019, after a record H1.

“The sustainable debt finance market is growing in volume, scope and popularity,” BNEF’s analysis states. “Record volumes of sustainable debt came to market in 1H 2019 – and the first half of the year is typically quieter than the second.”

Elsewhere, BNEF is predicting a continued comeback for the green bond market – particularly in Europe and the US – after green bond issuance fell 18% during the last quarter of 2018.

The green bonds market grew by a staggering 78% between 2016 and 2017, with national and institutional investors funnelling more than $150bn into low-carbon projects – but then experienced a quieter 2018. BNEF puts the resurgence of the market down to a “shift in market focus towards sustainability-linked loans”.

“Markets are scaling up and diversifying geographically, and in terms of sectors and bond asset classes,” BNEF's Outlook states.

Further analysis

This week has also seen financial services firm Morningstar release its own research on green finance, which concluded that sustainable funds pulled record levels of investment during the first half of the year.

The research looked at 2,323 open-end funds domiciled in Europe, all of which met Morningstar’s own criteria for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investments. It found that H1 of 2019 saw a collective total of €36.9bn invested in these funds, up from €38bn during the whole of 2018.

Morningstar also considered the performance of the funds in its research, concluding that more than one-third (34.1%) ended July 2019 within the top quartile of performance for their respective sector. In comparison, just 14.8% were in the bottom quartile.

Newest (green) loan on the block

In related news, BNP Paribas has issued a new sustainability-linked loan to housing association The Peabody Trust this week.

The interest rate on the £75m revolving credit facility is linked to Peabody achieving social-impact-based results. Specifically, the organisation will have to deliver an agreed number of accredited childcare qualifications to local residents over a five-year period, to benefit from lower interest rates. The hope is that this will improve the local community by boosting skills and employment rates, while providing care for children.

BNP Paribas claims that the loan is the first to be issued within the UK housing association sector with embedded links to social purpose.


North East councils conclude £150m EfW plant contract


A consortium led by infrastructure and renewable energy solutions provider Acciona is to deliver an energy-from-waste (EfW) plant in Aberdeen, it has been confirmed.

The contract award for the £150 million Ness Energy project was ratified by Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray councils in March and has now been concluded.

The project will be capable of processing 150,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste every year to generate electricity.

Acciona will be responsible for the design and turnkey construction, commissioning and the operation and maintenance (O&M) of the plant for a 20 year period, with a total budget of approximately €400m (£371m), including the EPC work (the turnkey engineering project) and the price of the O&M contract for the whole period.

For the operation and maintenance of the facilities for the entire duration of the contract, it will rely on the expertise of Indaver, a company specialized in waste management for over 25 years.

The project will provide a long-term, sustainable solution for non-recyclable municipal solid waste (MSW) produced in the city of Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray, as new legislation will ban waste going into landfill in Scotland from 2021.

The Ness Energy Project will be housed in a former gas storage site on the East Tullos Industrial Estate in Aberdeen, where it will treat non-recyclable waste in a clean, sustainable and comprehensive way. It will also generate electricity for the National Grid and heating for households in the Torry district.

The plant will comply with Scotland’s Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations and will be regulated by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), whose regulations are based on the strictest controls recently introduced by European directives.


Our Impact on Climate Change and Global Land Use in 5 Charts

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Our Impact on Climate Change and Land Use in 5 Charts

 

As the world population approaches the eight billion mark, it’s becoming clear that we’re impacting the planet in unprecedented ways.

Humans have made such dramatic changes to Earth’s systems, from climate to geology, that many are suggesting we’ve entered into a new epoch – the Anthropocene.

To better understand the challenges of this era of wide-sweeping human impact on the planet, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has produced a massive report covering land use and climate change.

According to the IPCC, the situation is looking more dire by the year. Below are a few of the key insights buried within the 1,400+ pages of the massive report.

 

Shifting Global Land Use

The scale of land use and loss of biodiversity are unprecedented in human history.

According to the report, roughly two-thirds of the world’s ice-free land is now devoted to human uses. Ecosystems, both forested and unforested, only account for about 16% of land today. Part of the reason for this dwindling supply of natural habitat is the rapid increase of agricultural activity around the world.

Since the dawn of the 20th century, global land use has shifted dramatically:

Global land use over time

Not only has land use changed, but so has farming itself. In many parts of the world, increased yields will primarily come from existing agricultural land. For example, wheat yields are projected to increase 11% by the year 2026, despite the growing area only increasing by 1.8%. Rice production exhibits a similar trend, with 93% of the projected increase expected to come from increased yields rather than from area expansion. In some cases, intensive farming practices can degrade soil more than 100x faster than the time it takes for new soil to form, leaving fertilizers to pick up the slack.

One of the most dramatic changes highlighted in the report is the nearly eight-fold increase in the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers since the early 1960s. These types of fertilizers are having serious downstream effects on aquatic ecosystems, in some cases creating “dead zones” such as the one in the Gulf of Mexico.

In addition to the negative impacts outlined above, the simple act of feeding ourselves also accounts for one-third of our global greenhouse gas footprint.

Things are Heating Up

The past half-decade is likely to become the warmest five-year stretch in recorded history, underscoring the rapid pace of climate change. On a global scale, even a small increase in temperature can have a big impact on climate and our ecosystems.

For example, air can hold approximately 7% more moisture for every 1ºC increase, leading to an uptick in extreme rainfall events. These events can trigger landslides, increase the rate of soil erosion, and damage crops – just one example of how climate change can cause a chain reaction.

For the billions of people who live in “drylands”, climate change is serving up a completely different scenario:

“Heatwaves are projected to increase in frequency, intensity and duration in most parts of the world and drought frequency and intensity is projected to increase in some regions that are already drought prone.”

— IPCC report on Climate Change and Land, 2019

This is particularly worrisome as 90% of people in these arid or semiarid regions live in developing economies that are still very reliant on agriculture.

In addition to water scarcity, the IPCC has identified a number of other categories, including soil erosion and permafrost degradation. In all seven categories, our current global temperature puts us firmly in the moderate to high-risk zone. These risks predict events with widespread societal impact, such as regional “food shocks” and millions of additional people exposed to wildfires.

This IPCC report makes one thing clear. In addition to tackling emissions in our cities and transportation networks, we’ll need to substantially change the way we use our land and rethink our entire agricultural system if we’re serious about mitigating the impact of climate change.


Climate Smart Mining: Minerals for Climate Action

The following content is sponsored by The World Bank

Climate Smart Mining: Minerals for Climate Action

Climate Smart Mining: Minerals for Climate Action

Countries are taking steps to decarbonize their economies by using wind, solar, and battery technologies, with an end goal of reducing carbon-emitting fossil fuels from the energy mix.

But this global energy transition also has a trade-off: to cut emissions, more minerals are needed.

Therefore, in order for the transition to renewables to be meaningful and to achieve significant reductions in the Earth’s carbon footprint, mining will have to better mitigate its own environmental and social impacts.

Advocates for renewable technology are not walking blindly into a new energy paradigm without understanding these impacts. A policy and regulatory framework can help governments meet their targets, mitigate, and manage the impacts of the next wave of mineral demand to help the communities most affected by mining.

Today’s infographic comes from the World Bank and it highlights this energy transition, how it will create demand for minerals, and also the Climate Smart Mining building blocks.

Renewable Power and Mineral Demand

In 2017, the World Bank published “The Growing Role of Minerals and Metals for a Low Carbon Future”, which concluded that to build a lower-carbon future there will be a substantial increase in demand for several key minerals and metals to manufacture clean energy technologies.

Wind
Wind power technology has drastically improved its energy output. By 2025, a 300-meter tall wind turbine could produce about 13 to 15 MW, enough to power a small town. With increased size and energy output comes increased material demand.

A single 3 MW turbine requires:

  • 4.7 tons of copper
  • 335 tons of steel
  • 1,200 tons of concrete
  • 2 tons of rare earth elements
  • 3 tons of aluminum

Solar
In 2017, global renewable capacity was 178 GW of which 54.5% was solar photovoltaic technology (PV). By 2023, it’s expected that this capacity will increase to one terawatt with PV accounting for 57.5% of the mix. PV cells require polymers, aluminum, silicon, glass, silver, and tin.

Batteries
Everything from your home, your vehicle, and your everyday devices will require battery technology to keep them powered and your life on the move.

Lithium, cobalt, and nickel are at the center of battery technology that will see the greatest explosion in demand in the coming energy transition.

Top Five Minerals for Energy Technologies
Add it all up, and these new sources of demand will translate into a need for more minerals:

2017 Production2050 Demand from Energy TechnologyPercentage Change (%)
Lithium43 KT415 KT965%
Cobalt110 KT644 KT585%
Graphite1200 KT4590 KT383%
Indium0.72 KT1.73 KT241%
Vanadium80 KT138 KT173%

Minimizing Mining’s Impact with Climate Smart Mining

The World Bank’s Climate Smart Mining (CSM) supports the sustainable extraction and processing of minerals and metals to secure supply for clean energy technologies, while also minimizing the environmental and climate footprints throughout the value chain.

The World Bank has established four building blocks to Climate Smart Mining:

  1. Climate Change Mitigation
  2. Climate Change Adaptation
  3. Reducing Material Impacts
  4. Creating Market Opportunities

Given the foresight into the pending energy revolution, a coordinated global effort early on could give nations a greater chance to mitigate the impacts of mining, avoid haphazard mineral development, and contribute to the improvement of living standards in mineral-rich countries.

The World Bank works closely with the United Nations to ensure that Climate Smart Mining policies will support the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

A Sustainable Future


UK's EV registrations almost triple as diesel sales tumble

7 August 2019, source edie newsroom

Almost three times as many electric cars were registered in the UK this July than in July 2018, research from one of the nation's largest automotive trade associations has concluded.

The SMMT claims that there are currently 80 "alternatively fuelled" car lines on sale in the UK, including 21 fully electric models 

The SMMT claims that there are currently 80 "alternatively fuelled" car lines on sale in the UK, including 21 fully electric models

The data, recorded by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), shows that registrations of fully electric vehicles (EVs) were up 158% year-on-year, from 880 in July 2018 to 2,271 in July 2018.

Hybrid-electric vehicle registrations were also up by 34.2% within the same timeframe, while a whopping 331% increase in registrations was recorded for mild hybrid-electric vehicles with diesel capacity.

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) registrations, however, were down 49.6% year-on-year. The decrease comes after the Department for Transport (DfT) altered its Plug-In Car Grant last Autumn, to reduce its grant for EV buyers by up to £1,000 per customer while removing some plug-in hybrid-electric models from the scheme altogether.

Nonetheless, SMMT claims that EVs accounted for a record proportion of overall UK car registrations last month, while new diesel car registrations were down by more than one-fifth (22.1%) year-on-year.

These trends come amid trying times for the UK’s car industry, with total July 2019 car registrations down 4.1% from the year prior. This drop off is being widely attributed – at least, in part – to Brexit, with automakers scrambling for reassurances that post-Brexit Britain will become a thriving hub for future product lines.

Commenting on the SMMT’s findings, the organisation’s chief executive Mike Hawes said that EVs are now on track to double their market share to 2.2% in 2020.

“Thanks to manufacturers’ investment in these new technologies over many years, these cars are coming to market in greater numbers than ever before,” Hawes said.

“If the UK is to meet its environmental ambitions, however, Government must create the right conditions to drive uptake, including long-term incentives and investment in infrastructure. The fastest way to address air quality concerns is through fleet renewal, so buyers need to be given the confidence to invest in the new, cleaner vehicles that best suit their driving needs, regardless of how they are powered.”

Driving towards net-zero?

Hawes is just one of many high-profile business figures to have urged the UK Government to do more in supporting businesses to decarbonise transport, after it enshrined a legally binding net-zero target for 2050 into law earlier this summer.

Transport it widely viewed as the Achilles heel of national decarbonisation efforts. It overtook the power industry as the most carbon-intense sector in 2016 and saw its emissions rise by 2% last year, with the main source of emissions deriving from the use of petrol and diesel.

In order to change this trajectory, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has recommended that the Government brings its 2040 ban on new petrol and diesel sales forward by at least eight years. Ministers had refused to move the date before net-zero was legislated and are yet to provide an update on whether their stance has changed.

The CCC has also criticised the Government’s existing strategy for decarbonising road transport and spurring the e-mobility revolution, called ‘Road to Zero’. The body has said that Ministers are failing to confirm financial support to domestic and business customers seeking to purchase electric vehicles (EVs) after 2020, invest in EV charging infrastructure and associated power system upgrades or require automakers to set long-term climate targets. Similarly, WWF’s head of climate and energy Gareth Redmond-King said that Road to Zero showed a “failure of climate leadership”.


SUEZ Signs 25yr Deal to Supply Heat from Belgrade Waste to Energy Project

A consortium led by SUEZ has signed a 25-year contract to sell heat from the energy recovered from waste in Belgrade, Serbia.

From BEN MESSENGER Serbia Waste to Energy
serbia, suez, waste, energy, heat, waste, to, energy

A consortium lead by SUEZ has signed a 25-year contract to sell heat from the energy recovered from waste in Belgrade, Serbia.

Under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, and the French President, Emmanuel Macron, SUEZ, within the consortium Beo Čista Energija (BCE) - comprising SUEZ, Itochu and Marguerite - has entered into the deal with municipal heating company Beogradske Elektrane to provide the Serbian capital with heat as part of the public-private partnership (PPP) signed in 2017 between the city of Belgrade and the consortium BCE to develop a project to recover energy from waste in the Serbian capital.

Awarded following an international call for tenders launched with the backing of the World Bank, the PPP provides for the design, construction, financing and operation of modern waste recovery facilities, including a new energy from waste facility and a recycling plant for construction and demolition waste.

BCE has committed to invest €285 million to build the new infrastructures that will process 500,000 tonnes of municipal waste and 200,000 tonnes of construction and demolition waste each year. Operations will be handled by SUEZ and will start gradually from 2020.

The energy from waste facility will produce up to 30 MW of electricity, plus 56 MW of heat purchased by the municipal company Beogradske Elektrane; thus reducing the natural gas consumption of its Konjarnik plant by 80% in the cold season. In this way, the project will contribute to reducing the reliance on fossil fuel.

This PPP project also includes the gradual closure of the existing Belgrade landfill located in the immediate suburbs of Vinča, on the banks of the Danube. Opened in 1977, this 40-hectare landfill is one of the 50 largest active landfills in the world and the only one in Europe to be listed by the International Solid Waste Association.  Its gradual closure will contribute to improving the environmental impact as well as the water quality of the Danube.

Rade Basta, General Manager of Beogradske Elektrane, concluded: “Beogradske Elektrane is proud to contribute to this landmark project by providing Belgrade’s inhabitants and businesses with a renewable heat source consistent with the principles of the circular economy.”


RDF Prices on the Rise as Dutch Plant Outage and Restrictions on Imports Bite

1 AUGUST 2019by Steve Eminton

RDF under pressure as Amsterdam backs restrictions

Amsterdam council is supporting a call by the Dutch Waste Management Association for the Netherlands to import less waste for incineration because of the part-closure of the city’s energy from waste plant.

Any restrictions could further hit the UK’s export of RDF – refuse-derived fuel, with the Netherlands the major importer from the UK. Latest figures suggest that in May the country’s energy from waste (EfW) plants took about 50% of UK and Ireland exports of RDF at around 120,000 tonnes. Typically about 1.4m tonnes or RDF is exported from the UK annually to the Netherlands.

No RDF has been taken in by AEB, the operator of the huge energy from waste plant in Amsterdam since May 2019. Consequently, some other Dutch incinerator operators are understood to have agreed to take in UK material but the plants are also taking in additional volumes of Dutch waste, which has been welcomed by the country’s government and Amsterdam council.

The AEB plant (archive picture)

The situation is said to be putting pressure on UK waste management companies and brokers who export RDF to Holland to ensure they have outlets for the material.

UK exporters

Environment Agency RDF export figures show that the largest overall exporters by company in May saw Biffa export 26,000 tonnes, closely followed at 25,000 tonnes by Geminor UK, although the tonnages which went to Holland are not stated.

One exporter, Renewi, which was a supplier of RDF to AEB, told letsrecycle.com that: “Renewi is continuing to carefully monitor the situation to ensure that all services are delivered to our customers. We remain committed to working with our partners within the UK and Netherlands to source alternative outlets during this period of downtime at AEB.”

AEB is described as the world’s largest EfW facility on one site with a 1.4 million tonnes capacity – current capacity is down to 30%, about 420,000 tonnes.

Sector experts have told letsrecycle.com that it is impossible for all the displaced RDF from Amsterdam and other Dutch incinerators to find a home in energy from waste plants.

Competition

The situation is being exacerbated by competition for waste incineration in northern Europe from German and Italian RDF with suppliers looking for outlets in Scandinavia, Holland and elsewhere. Spot gate fees for material are also said to be moving up to the higher part of the current letsrecycle.com price indicator range of £93-100. There is an expectation that prices will rise in August.

The only alternative, one exporter told letsrecycle.com, is for the waste to be landfilled in the UK.

In the UK, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is aware of the Amsterdam problem and is monitoring developments. Defra had already instructed the Environment Agency to carry out a study into landfill capacity in the UK should a Brexit no-deal situation mean that waste exports are delayed and material had to be landfilled. This information from this study is thought also to be relevant now to the impact from AEB – the Agency found that there is sufficient landfill capacity to cope in an emergency.

AEB Amsterdam (archive picture)

But, one challenge for waste management companies who own landfills will be ensuring sufficient cell are available and securing approval from the Environment Agency for construction plans.

The Amsterdam plant is operating only at 30% capacity and can virtually take in only waste from the City of Amsterdam meaning that Dutch commercial waste is without an EfW route in the city.

Restriction

The Netherlands Government’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management is assessing the call from the country’s waste association and Amsterdam to restrict waste imports. The pair argue that a restriction would free up incineration capacity for the country’s own waste.

But, so far the Netherlands Government has made no decision. A spokesperson for the Ministry told letsrecycle.com that: “We are monitoring the situation closely and, together with competent authorities and the waste management sector, exploring all options available.”

Even the possible failure of the 30% capacity operational level is being discussed. As a first step, because of fears that the remaining capacity at the plant could cease, the city council has supported a credit for AEB along with one from a group of banks. AEB operates in its own right, but has the city has a 100% shareholder.

This funding lifeline has helped to ensure waste collections in Amsterdam are not disrupted and that sufficient energy is being generated to provide heat to an existing 35,000 households served by the plant’s district heating scheme, said the city council.

One problem area has been bulky waste with collections halted but now resumed. However, problems are significant in the commercial waste sector with material due for combustion now being landfilled in two provinces, Nauerna and Lelystad, not far from Amsterdam after permission was granted by the Dutch Ministry.

Landfill

The landfilling of waste that still has “useful potential” is prohibited in the Netherlands but exemptions to this can be provided for in the “environmental permit”, that has to be amended on approval of the competent authorities, which are usually the provincial administrations.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Ministry of Infrastructure and Water explained: “For the short term, temporary capacity for landfilling of the excess waste of AEB has been found. Whether landfilling on a longer-term will occur due to the situation at AEB is not yet clear.”

For a solution to the structural problems at AEB, a restructuring manager has been appointed who will prepare a business restructuring plan

Amsterdam city council, deputy mayor

Amsterdam city council says that the agreement on the temporary disposal of commercial and industrial waste relieves pressure on the national waste processing chain for at least a few weeks. It added that: “The municipality and the government are happy to participate in plans of the waste companies to structurally guarantee waste processing.”

The short-term prospects for the AEB incinerator look difficult although the city council has given a €6 million credit to the plant and banks have given €10 million. Industry experts told letsrecycle.com that the financial support will be crucial for the plant which is unlikely to be at full capacity for several years. Work is however underway to improve the facility to ensure it does have a future, according to sources close to the facility.

Deputy mayor

A spokesperson for Amsterdam’s deputy mayor Kock (Shareholders portfolio) and deputy mayor Van Doorninck (Circular Economy and Sustainability) explained to letsrecycle.com that “because of the part closure of the plant there had been a negative impact on its finances. The funding had been given to help ensure that the 30% remained open, partly to make sure residents continued to get heat from AEB.”

The spokesperson explained that a restructuring manager is being put into the company along with some other new board members and that a number of existing ones, including the chairman, had resigned. The restructuring manager will be looking at the options for the financial and operational future of the plant which is thought to include the possibility of a sale of the facility which is seen as needing investment.

Amsterdam deputy mayor, Udo Kock (picture: Amsterdam council)

It was added by the spokesperson that there were no waste problems in Amsterdam’s streets but that the limited capacity on the Dutch market is a national problem. “It is therefore important that the business community, central government, provinces and municipalities work together on a long-term solution. The municipality of Amsterdam has taken responsibility by providing additional credit to the banks with AEB. As a result, the waste in the city and region can simply be collected and processed. For a solution to the structural problems at AEB, a restructuring manager has been appointed who will prepare a business restructuring plan in the coming weeks.”

Despite 30% of the plant remaining operational, the level of nervousness about the facility has also prompted deputy mayor Kock to ask the restructuring manager and AEB board to look at a “Plan B”.

Cllr Kock said: “A plan B will also be worked out to guarantee the continuity of public services, such as waste processing and heat supply, if, for whatever reason, for example due to safety, the continuity of the current scaled-down operation of AEB is at stake.”

Entrance to the AEB plant, 1 August 2019 (source: AEB webcam)


Conference: The annual letsrecycle.com RDF Conference, with the RDF Group, will be held on 28 November 2019. More details HERE


The European Investment Bank proposes an end to fossil fuel lending to fight climate change

The European Investment Bank proposes an end to fossil fuel lending to fight climate change

The logo of the European Investment Bank is pictured in the city of Luxembourg, Luxembourg, March 25, 2017. Reuters/Eric Vidal - RC1A38404FC0

The European Investment Bank wants to stop funding new fossil fuel-reliant projects by the end of 2020, a draft of the EU lending arm’s new energy strategy showed on Friday.

The development bank proposed phasing out support to energy projects that were “reliant on fossil fuels: oil and gas production, infrastructure primarily dedicated to natural gas, power generation or heat-based on fossil fuels.”

“These types of projects will not be presented for approval to the EIB Board beyond the end of 2020,” the proposals said.

Image: BP Energy Outlook 2019 Edition

The EIB board, which is made up mostly of EU finance ministers, is expected to discuss the proposals at a meeting in September, though a final decision could take longer.

Resistance could potentially come from coal-reliant eastern European Union members or countries such as Italy where the EIB is helping fund the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline for gas.

“This long-term transition (to greener energy sources) is profound. Solidarity is required to ensure that potentially vulnerable groups or regions are supported,” the EIB proposal document said.

The bank said it would provide extra support to those member states or regions with “a more challenging transition path”.

Incoming President the European Commission, Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen, has called for the EIB to spend half of the roughly 70-80 billion euros-a-year it invests on green projects, suggesting turning parts of it into a “climate bank”.

The EIB estimates that under 5% of its lending currently goes on fossil fuel projects. According to non-governmental group CEE Bankwatch Network it spent 12 billion euros ($13 billion) in the area between 2013 and 2017.

“The bank’s board must now approve the plan without delay,” Greenpeace EU tweeted.

Xavier Sol, Director of NGO Counter Balance which campaigned for the move with 70 NGOs, think tanks and academics at an EIB meeting at its Luxembourg headquarters in June added it was “very good news.”