National Grid says it can go 100% renewables by 2025

Fintan Slye: We can do this

National Grid ESO believes it will be able to operate the power system with 100% renewable power – for periods at least – by 2025. But says it will need to “fundamentally change” the way it operates.

“Operating a zero-carbon electricity system in 2025, whenever there is sufficient renewable generation, is a major stepping stone to full decarbonisation of the entire electricity system; enabling new technologies and removing barriers to ever increasing levels of renewables,” said ESO director, Fintan Slye.

In order to achieve that goal, the system operator has to roll out new ways of managing system characteristics like inertia and voltage across the system. That means in some cases developing new markets, for system products that have not yet been designed, and it requires far more data to be handled to model the system.

The ESO said, “we need to fundamentally change how we plan, analyse and operate the electricity system and innovate in the development and deployment of new technologies, products and services. The development timeline includes plans to:

  • Be able to use wind and solar to provide reserve and response services by 2020.
  • Increase deployment of storage and its use in frequency markets.
  • Define new ancillary services that deliver the inertia currently provide by rotating fossil plant, so that new markets for these services can be developed and put in place by 2022.
  • Investigate existing and new technologies that can provide voltage support.
  • Improve forecasting of wind and solar, along with embedded generation.
  • Develop the ability to monitor and measure inertia and new network analysis tools that allow it to be modelled and different operating scenarios assessed in real time,

The ESO said that although this would be a step-change in grid operation, “We know, through approaches that we have had to date, that there are customers with the right technologies that can provide these services. Therefore, once we have identified and described the technical requirements of the network it should be possible to create the right products and market place.”

See details here.

Bristol City Council gives go-ahead to low-carbon city plan

Bristol City Council has decided to go ahead with its ambitious ‘City Leap’ programme and will be procuring a strategic partner to deliver the project in a joint venture. A council meeting on 2 April agreed seed funding for the energy projects and funds to procure the joint venture partner.

City Leap was launched in May last year with a prospectus featuring up to £1 billion of partnership and investment opportunities (see below). The aim is to attract new energy investment into the city, a strategy which includes domestic energy efficiency improvements and power generation. The  city intends to be carbon neutral by 2050. It attracted interest from over 180 local, national and international organisations, including tech firms, investors, community organisations and innovative energy and infrastructure developers.

After assessing different options the city recommended that the council  procure a Strategic Partner to form a joint venture (City LeapEnergy Partnership) with Bristol Energy and the council’s Energy Service (BCCES) playing an integral role.

It concluded that Bristol Energy and BCCES have significant capability across the whole project value chain. Bristol Energy can cover the full range of services around supply, trading, and monetisation of flexibility in-house, the city concluded. It has developed innovative propositions such as heat-as-a-service and battery storage, and is developing a local energy market design under its BESST (Bristol Energy Smart System Transformation) project. Meanwhile, BCCES has a  track record of successful delivery of low carbon infrastructure, has a pipeline of in-flight projects such as heat networks, and is also delivering a number of innovation projects.

As well as the energy opportunities (listed below) the partnership may include two major development opportunities: the city’s Temple and Western Docks areas.

Potential investment opportunity

Estimated investment opportunity over ten years

Heat networks


Smart energy system


Domestic energy efficiency


Commercial energy efficiency


Renewable energy


Monitoring, dissemination and evaluation






Marine energy





ElectraLink and REA launch partnership to champion a decentralised electricity system

ElectraLink and REA launch partnership to champion a decentralised electricity system

Posted: 4 April, 2019. By Daniel Brown

Daniel Brown

ElectraLink and the Renewable Energy Association (REA) are delighted to announce a new partnership which will culminate in a report and conference on Thursday, 12th September 2019 at the offices of BCLP LLP.

A market in flux

Smart Power, a major report and piece of analytical modeling commissioned by the National Infrastructure Commission, was released to the public on 4 March 2016. The report was a milestone in the process of quantifying, justifying, and legitimising a future power system that is radically more decentralised, flexible and decarbonised. Smart Power revealed that the UK can save £8 billion a year by 2030 by supporting greater interconnection, storage and demand flexibility. Building a smarter power system, the report suggests, is good for UK PLC and businesses, and can deliver savings to the public at large with data underpinning this transition.

Since Smart Power’s launch, oil majors have bought aggregators, automotive manufacturers have become solar developers and ‘subsidy-free’ renewables deployment has gone from promise to reality. Now with nearly a million domestic and commercial solar installations, a rapidly developing energy storage sector and a boom in corporate and consumer purchase of renewable power, the UK energy sector is about to start a new chapter on how power is generated and consumed. Great change is expected in the decade to come, with many anticipating rapid electric vehicle deployment and much of the existing stock of large, centralised power generation capacity due to come offline.

Building the Flexible Power Report

Whilst Smart Power has made a major contribution to the UK debate and has drawn a line in the sand as to what we can achieve, for many the road still appears fraught and uncertain.

Part of the purpose of the REA and ElectraLink partnership is to produce and launch Flexible Power – a new document that will use ElectraLink’s dataset under its Energy Market Data Hub, together with REA expertise, to understand the electricity system’s changes to date and chart a course for the next decade.

The report will build on the skill demonstrated in the outcomes of ElectraLink’s LCT Detection Project which used advanced analytics to identify indications of 15,000 previously unknown solar PV and electric vehicle charging installations on the Western Power Distribution network.

Flexible Power also assists in drawing a roadmap, based on industry experience, about how we can achieve our common goal of £8bn per year in savings. This document is the first in a series of reports and is split into three parts, focusing on trends in:

  • renewable power supply,
  • activity behind the meter for homes and businesses, and
  • grid-scale changes on electricity distribution networks.

Each chapter in the report will reflect on what we know about market changes to date, outline barriers to growth at present and incorporate a vision for development of the market to 2030.

In addition to employing real-world data provided by ElectraLink, along with the internal expertise of the REA team, we have enlisted the support of senior market experts such as Robert Hull, who for ten years served as Managing Director at Ofgem.

Flexible Power will be launched on Thursday, 12th September 2019 and will be accompanied by a half-day conference at the offices of Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP in London.

Conference and launch

A half-day conference and networking reception on Thursday 12th September 2019 will coincide with the launch of this report. Further details are available on the REA website here.

The conference will feature three panels, on renewable power supply, on developments behind the meter (commercial and industrial), and standalone grid-connected or co-located.

Once published, the report will be freely available to the public.

Registrations will go live shortly. Discounts will be available to members of the REA. The event and drinks reception is kindly hosted by Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner at their beautiful offices at Adelaide House, London Bridge, London EC4R 9HA.

Get involved

If you are a manufacturer, developer, operator or another UK energy market participant aligned with the flexibility movement who would be interested in contributing a case study to, or sponsoring a chapter of, this report, please email the REA’s Head of Events, Marketing, and Membership Lindsay Barnett.

With other questions please email Daniel Brown, Policy Manager at the REA.

You can follow the conversation about this partnership on social media - #FlexiblePowerUK

About ElectraLink

ElectraLink is a central body regulated by Ofgem at the heart of the UK energy market. We are owned by the DNOs and are responsible for operating the Data Transfer Service that underpins the UK energy market and we ensure that this solution remains secure, low cost and facilitates vibrant competition. Our management of the DTS provides us with unique access to a wealth of energy market data which allows us, with the permission of the users of the DTS, to support industry to develop solutions, facilitate innovation and reduce costs to consumers.

ElectraLink also provides expertise to several energy industry codes which set the ‘rules’ for the gas and electricity markets. Our reputation for impartiality and energy market expertise makes us an ideal partner in the implementation and change management of energy market governance arrangements. ElectraLink is the bridge that underpins the utility market and plays a key role in the transition to a smarter, more flexible energy network.

About the REA

The REA is the UK’s largest trade association for renewable energy and clean technologies. As a non-profit organisation representing over 500 companies operating in technologies such as solar, energy storage, grid management and electric vehicle charging, and with nearly two decades of experience in advocating for decarbonisation and green growth, it is well suited to offer input and expertise about this historic market change.

Orkney 'smart energy' grid project launched

  • 3 April 2019
Rackwick beach, Hoy.Image copyrightCOLIN KELDIE
Image captionThe islands that make up the archipelago, including Hoy, can take advantage of wind and wave power

A pioneering project has been launched in Orkney to create a "green" electricity grid mixing renewable energy with battery technology.

The "smart energy" scheme will use domestic batteries and electric vehicles to "balance" the local power network by meeting supply with demand.

It is being backed by £14.3m of UK government funding.

The aim is electricity from renewables which does not rely on fossil fuels when turbines are not turning.

Orkney has been chosen because of its high take-up of "micro-generation".

Official figures show that 10% of homes create their own electricity - compared with a UK average of 2.8%.

It has 2kW of renewable energy capacity per property which is 900% more than the UK average.

'Test bed'

The county also has almost four times more electric vehicles per home.

UK Energy Minister Claire Perry said: "What we are seeing here on Orkney is a test bed for the energy system of the future.

"These smart systems are a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy and will provide cheaper, greener and more flexible access to energy for everyone.

"What we learn from these innovations could one day be rolled out across the UK and exported around the world and we'll be able to say it was 'Made in Orkney'."

Gareth Davies from Stromness-based renewable energy consultants Aquatera
Image caption Gareth Davies of Aquatera said the project was about local balance

The £28.5m project will create a "smart energy group of islands" where software balances local supply, storage and demand.

It should make electricity cheaper and eventually remove the need for fossil fuels.

Small batteries will be offered to homes with existing wind and solar technology while larger ones will be installed at businesses and public buildings.

'Local resilience'

Gareth Davies from Stromness-based renewable energy consultants Aquatera, told BBC Scotland: "A key part of this project is to start building in local resilience and capacity within our local energy system.

"To date we've relied on UK systems to provide that balancing service. This project is all about delivering that service locally."

Existing infrastructure in renewable energy is capable of generating 130% of Orkney's annual electricity demands.

Wind farmImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image caption Batteries will be offered to homes and businesses with existing wind and solar technology

With a steady increase in drivers switching to electric vehicles (EVs), that growth is expected to increase the demand on the energy grid.

But because cars are only used for a relatively small part of each day, the batteries in EVs can be used as an energy source when electricity demand is high.

'Really significant'

Adele Lidderdale, from Orkney Islands Council, said: "Electric vehicles are a really important part of this project.

"At the moment, 2% of vehicles in Orkney are EVs and we're looking to take that up to 10%.

"In Scotland they've made commitments to reduce fossil fuel vehicles and by 2032 we really need to be seeing a lot more electric vehicles on the road."

Neil Kermode, managing director of the European Marine Energy Centre
Image caption Neil Kermode, of EMEC, said a complicated process could be unlocked

Neil Kermode, managing director of the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), added: "We think this really significant, not just for Orkney but for the UK as a whole.

"We know we're going to use renewables to power the system, we've got to find out how to do it.

"This is a way that unlocks the complicated process of using renewables for heat and transport as well as electricity."

Charter review sees Aberdeenshire revisit collection plans

3 APRIL 2019 by Will Date

Aberdeenshire council is to revisit kerbside collection options agreed in January as part of the introduction of a new Waste Strategy for the county. 

Proposals agreed at the start of the year as part of the strategy included the potential introduction of a three-weekly residual waste collection service from April 2020 (see story).

Aberdeenshire had proposed to move to a three-weekly collection system from next April

The majority of the £4.2 million needed to implement the new kerbside collection system had been expected to be funded by Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS), but the council has claimed this week that the money is no longer available.

According to Aberdeenshire, the decision relates to a review of the Code of Practice associated with Scotland’s Household Waste Recycling Charter, which is to be undertaken ‘once the full implications of the proposed Scottish Deposit Return Scheme are known’.

The Charter, launched in 2015, sets out a common approach to the operation of waste and recycling services, communication with residents, and common policies on issues such as contamination.

The £3.2million funding being sought by Aberdeenshire council for changes to kerbside collections was intended to increase reuse and recycling through compliance with the Charter, paying for new containers needed to do so.


Members of Aberdeenshire council’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC) will now be presented with alternative proposals at a meeting next month.

Officers are currently considering a range of options to be presented to councillors for further consideration and agreement on how to proceed.

“We have been and continue to work closely with Zero Waste Scotland, but it’s clearly disappointing that we’ve been unable to secure this funding at this time.”

Philip McKay
Aberdeenshire council

Other changes to be introduced under the new Waste Strategy will still go ahead – including improvements to Household Waste Recycling Centres from this month and an increased number of garden waste collection points across the area.

Aberdeenshire council’s head of roads, landscape and waste services, Philip McKay, said: “This clearly causes some issues for the delivery of the area’s new Waste Strategy.

“The redesigned kerbside service was intended to help us meet our obligations in terms of the local recycling rate and the forthcoming landfill ban.

“We have been and continue to work closely with Zero Waste Scotland, but it’s clearly disappointing that we’ve been unable to secure this funding at this time, which was ultimately intended to help us really push up our community’s recycling rate and divert waste from landfill.

“However, that still remains our goal and we are currently evaluating a number of options which will be presented to Committee in due course.”

‘Evolving landscape’

Zero Waste Scotland’s Head of Resource Management, Charlie Devine, said: “We are very supportive of Aberdeenshire council’s ambition and vision to meet their recycling targets. The landscape is evolving to meet Scotland’s wider environmental targets and circular economy ambitions, reflected in part by the forthcoming introduction of the deposit return scheme for single use beverage containers.

“As a result, we are reviewing how kerbside recycling collections can adapt to support these changes and how best we can support all councils across Scotland. We will continue to work with and support Aberdeenshire council to explore the best options to meet their needs.”

Aberdeenshire council collects around 60,000 tonnes of recyclable material and 80,000 tonnes of residual waste from its 120,000 households

Aberdeenshire council collects around 60,000 tonnes of recyclable material and 80,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste annually from 120,000 households and business customers across the region. In 2017 Aberdeenshire’s recycling rate was 43.7%, slightly below the Scottish average of 45.6%.

According to the council, an analysis of the residual waste collected from the kerbside suggests that as much as 30,000 tonnes of additional recyclable or compostable material is collected every year, at a disposal cost of £3.5 million.

Residual waste is currently treated via a long term contract with Suez, largely using the company’s Stoneyhill landfill site. The authority sent a total of 69,000 tonnes of waste to landfill in 2017, according to data from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

The scrapped strategy had proposed changes to its current alternate weekly collection system which sees commingled recyclables collected on one week, followed by residual waste on the next week.

FCC Environment in £480m EfW project with Tata

27 MARCH 2019 by Joshua Doherty

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and FCC Environment have announced that £480 million in funding has been secured to construct a 600,000 tonne capacity EfW plant in Lostock, Cheshire.

The funding was agreed between the two companies – through a joint venture called the ‘Lostock Sustainable Energy Plant Limited’ (LSEP) – and Tata Chemicals Europe, which previously headed up the project.

Under the agreement, the LSEP will own, construct and operate the facility, but Tata Chemicals Europe will “remain a key long term participant”.


Artists impression of the proposed Lostock facility by the Trent and Mersey Canal

The deal will also see CIP own 60% of the plant, while FCC will own the remaining 40% and also source the waste for the facility.

The plant is scheduled to commence operations in the end of second quarter of 2023.


Commenting on the deal, Paul Taylor, group chief executive of FCC, said: “Today is a milestone for the waste treatment industry here in the UK which is facing a severe capacity gap for the treatment of un-recyclable residual waste.

“We already successfully operate a number of plants here in the UK generating some 102 MW of green energy with a new plant due to come on stream in Edinburgh later this summer. So this development forms an important part of our strategy to continuously invest in the waste related infrastructure that is crucial for this country’s ability to process waste and power homes across the UK both today and in the future. We also maintain our strategy to strengthen FCC’s UK position as EfW owner, supplier and UK operator.”

2012 consent

The Lostock energy from waste plant (EFW) will be developed in accordance with the planning consent secured by Tata in 2012, and will replace the old coal-fired power station it had on the site.

The two-boiler line project will be built by a consortium led by CNIM, the French industrial engineering contractor, and the milestone marks the green light for them to initiate manufacturing and construction.

The construction process will consist of two phases, starting with a 15-month enabling works program followed by a 3-year building phase including six months of commissioning.

Tata Chemicals Europe said the plant will also become an “important long-term customer” for TCE’s sodium bicarbonate, which will be used in the treatment of the flue gas emissions from the EFW.

Fraser Ramsay, TCE’s project director, said: “We’re delighted to have reached agreement with LSEP for them to fund, own, build and operate the Lostock Energy from Waste Plant.  We recognised the need for strong third-party support to take this project forward and, through this agreement, have secured leading energy from waste expertise to make the plant a reality.”

Mr Ramsay added: “At £480m, this is one of the largest investments at the Lostock site since soda ash manufacturing commenced in 1907 and continues a rich industrial history of innovation and job creation in Northwich.

“We hope, by working with industry leading organisations, that concerns previously expressed about the project by members of the local community will be alleviated.”

Cheshire waste wood gasification facility ‘fully operational’

26 MARCH 2019by Joshua Doherty

The 170,000 tonnes-per-year capacity ‘Ince Bio Power’ waste wood gasification facility in Cheshire is now fully operational, developer Bioenergy Infrastructure Group (BIG) announced today (26 March).

Ince Bio Power forms part of Peel Environmental’s ‘Protos’ energy hub, located near Ellesmere Port.

The facility uses advanced thermal treatment (ATT) technology – otherwise known as gasification – which turns waste wood feedstock into a combustible gas by heating it in a “virtually oxygen-free environment”.

The gasification facility is based at Peel Environmental’s ‘Protos’ hub and will process around 170,000 tonnes of waste wood

The Energy Works Hull plant in East Yorkshire and one at Levenseat in Lanarkshire – also owned by BIG – will also employ the same ATT technology.

Ince Biopower will be fed by up to 170,00 tonnes of waste wood from the north west of England to produce around 21.5MW of electricity. The site also features a processing site to shred material and remove metals before processing.

Around 150 jobs were created during the construction of Ince Bio Power. The plant will be operated and managed by about 25 full-time employees.

The facility generated its first energy as part of testing in May 2018 (see story), around three years after construction on the facility started.

Commenting on today’s update, Neil Bennett, chief commercial officer at BIG, said: “We are delighted that Ince is now fully operational and will continue to generate clean, base-load, renewable energy for the people of the north-west of England. This is not only a significant milestone for Ince but also an important moment in the development of gasification facilities in the UK, which are a sustainable alternative to incineration.”


The Protos site consists of a number of energy facilities and is expected to create over 3,000 jobs and provide a £350 million boost to the economy, the site’s owners say. Discussions are also ongoing between Biffa and Covanta for a 350,000 tonnes-per-year energy from waste plant on the site.

Commenting on the Ince Bio Power site Jane Gaston, development director at Peel Environmental, said: “This is a significant step forward for Protos and the creation of a strategic and self-sustaining energy hub in the north west.

“Facilities such as this are vitally important in the transition to a low carbon economy and meeting the Government’s clean growth agenda. The supply of a local, sustainable and secure source of energy only goes to reaffirm this region’s position as the industrial powerhouse of the UK, making it even more attractive to businesses both at home and overseas.”

Progressive Energy also announced earlier this year that it would set up a 175,000 tonne gasification facility at Protos, which was worth up to worth up to £150 million (see story).

EfWs on target at Viridor but Glasgow losses loom

25 MARCH 2019 by Steve Eminton

Pennon Group today reported good progress on its subsidiary Viridor’s suite of energy from waste plans under development but could face having to make further provisions for losses over its Glasgow facility.

In an update ahead of its results for the year ending 13 March 2019 which will be published at the end of May, Pennon – which also owns South West Water – said its “operational ramp up for Glasgow, Dunbar and Beddington Energy Recovery Facilities (ERFs) is progressing well and construction of Avonmouth is well advanced.”

Viridor’s energy from waste facility in Glasgow

It also said that its recycling division, which had been under pressure in recent years after a fall in the value of secondary commodities and restrictions on exports to China, is on track to meet expectations.

Energy from Waste

Pennon said that the three new Viridor ERFs at Glasgow, Beddington and Dunbar have “all progressed through commissioning to service commencement ahead of full operation. Optimisation is ongoing and operations will continue to ramp up over the next 18 months in line with the pattern experienced already in our existing portfolio.”

And, existing plants, have performed “in line with management expectations” and continued to perform “ahead of our base case scenario, underpinning the full year results forecast”.

One of its newest facilities is the Avonmouth ERF which “has progressed as expected this year with all major process equipment parts and steelwork for the building in place.”


Pennon is facing the potential for losses over its “Glasgow Recycling Renewable Energy Centre” known as GRREC.

Twelve months ago the company reported that the project was £95 million over budget and consequently future income from its contract with Glasgow city council could be hit (see story).

The project has faced extra costs and disruption because of the demise of its project contractor, Interserve.

Today Pennon pointed out that its half-year results “recognised a gross receivable of £72 million due from Interserve Construction Limited. As the amounts recoverable from Interserve Construction Limited related to rectification and completion costs, under accounting standards (IFRIC12), the difference between the gross contractual receivable of £72 million and the expected recovery will be taken directly to the income statement.”

Assessing market risk, in the half year accounts a provision of £8 million was “recognised against the receivable”. And Pennon, said it continues to monitor Interserve’s financial condition and is now recognising a provision of £16 million.

But, with Interserve plc entering administration, Pennon is seeking further clarification regarding the financial position of Interserve Construction Limited the ongoing operating company with whom it contracted, and this may change the level of provision to be announced with the full year 2018/19 results on 30 May 2019.

Pennon pledged to continue “to pursue recovery of all amounts due from the operating subsidiary Interserve Construction Limited and will take all the necessary legal and procedural steps to achieve this.”


On recycling, Pennon highlighted the stability of recyclate prices for Viridor and increasing customer quality requirements.

Pennon noted: “Viridor has continued with targeted investment in its recycling assets in order to improve output quality, including a focus on reliability centred maintenance and working with its customers to improve the quality of input materials.”

Hydrogen Could Make Scotland a Green Energy Global Powerhouse

green energy

Highland-based think tank says hydrogen power revolution could see Scotland reaping a massive amount of wealth as a global exporter of green energy

Think tank HIAlba-Idea, based in the Scottish Highlands, has drawn up a plan that would see Scotland well positioned to receive huge benefits from renewable hydrogen energy.

Not only could Scotland satisfy its own domestic needs, it could also start exporting green energy abroad – a move the group says will have a transformative effect on the country’s economy and standing of the nation.

The think tank asserts that Scotland would be able to fuel the proposed European supergrid, and generate so much wealth the country could establish a Sovereign Wealth Fund, similar to the one established by Norway with North Sea oil.

Headed up by economist professor Ronald MacDonald and Dr Donald MacRae, HIAlba-Idea is the first ever think tank to be based in the Highlands. MacDonald is a professor of macroeconomics at Glasgow University’s Adams Smith Business School and has been a consultant adviser to the European Central Bank, the European Commission, the World Bank, the IMF, and the UK National Audit Office.

MacRae has held under-secretary positions in the Australian Government and was a director with Australia’s commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Australia has already begun using solar power to develop renewable hydrogen energy.

The think tank’s blueprint, Hydrogen Scotland: A Route to Export Powerhouse and Maximising Scotland’s Wellbeing While Bravely Innovating, is based on MacRae’s work at CSIRO and is due to be released imminently.

A clean, cheap, plentiful source of energy hydrogen can be produced via solar, wave or wind power. Now, for the first time, hydrogen energy can be exported, which has led some to describe the process as ‘bottling sunshine’.

MacRae has put forward the concept of storing green energy on decommissioned North Sea oil rigs. It would be kept as ammonia, from which the hydrogen can be extracted.

Many believe this will provide a viable solution to many of the West’s environmental, economic and social problems.

MacDonald suggests that this energy revolution would help solve the “tail-off in productivity of the Scottish and UK economy,” which has emerged as a result of a shift from manufacturing to services.

Describing renewable hydrogen energy as a “big transformative idea”, he says that it could take Scotland back to being “a manufacturing economy and an export power house”.

MacDonald believes that rural parts of the country will stand to benefit from the “energy revolution” and could lead to a “Highland renaissance” as many of the winds farms that will be needed could be located in these areas.

The think tank is now asking the Scottish Government and key members of the oil industry to collaborate with them to create a Scottish road map for the commercial use of renewable hydrogen.

“Clearly, a Europe self-sufficient in green energy would have the implications that go beyond decarbonisation, including that of its security, since it would no longer need to be reliant on potentially hostile countries for energy supplies,” said MacDonald.

“For Scotland, it has the potential to be a very significant game-changer. In fact, there are so many innovations that spin off it that we are actually looking at it as a whole portfolio of opportunities. For Scotland, we are talking about something of immense significance.

“If the supergrid became a reality then that in itself could be revolutionary. This could be the pathway to making the whole of Europe green.”

Scotland dumps more rubbish in landfill despite record recycling

By David Leask Chief Reporter, The Herald

New laws on landfill will start in 2021

New laws on landfill will start in 2021

SCOTLAND is sending more rubbish to landfill as its recycling drive stalls, new figures have revealed.

Councils and commercial operators dumped 3.83 million tonnes of waste in the ground in 2017, more than 700 kilos each for every man woman and child in the country.

The figure rose because increasing recycling and incineration cannot keep up with a relentless rise in the amount of garbage generated north of the border, including industrial and construction rubble and soil.

Official figures published on Tuesday by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency or Sepa showed recorded waste from all sources at 11.82 million tonnes, up 5.5 per cent from a year before.

The share of rubbish recycled - after successive years of increasing - edged back slightly to 58.9 per cent in 2017. This was a rare setback in succesive years of improvement.

READ MORE: We are getting good at recycling but we need to create less trash

Green campaigners have long warned that the country needs to generate less waste rather than just try to recycle the rubbish it does create.

Iain Gulland of Zero Waste Scotland, writing in today’s Herald, said: “We are getting smarter about ways to deal with waste but the real challenge is reducing it in the first place.”

Terry A’Hearn, Sepa’s Chief Executive, said: “The scale of the environmental challenge is enormous and we know that in Scotland we currently use the resources of three planets, but only have one.

“The most successful countries in the 21st century will be resource efficient, circular economies, where what once was waste is valued as a resource.

“As such, the latest figures give communities and businesses a fresh focus for the opportunity ahead.”

The big picture remains that Scotland is still landfilling half as much as it did in 2005. The rise in waste in 2017 was largely down to soil and rubble rather than trash collected from homes. There was slightly less municipal waste thrown in to landfill in 2017 than in 2016.

Both environmentalists and the waste industry itself have warned that some Scottish Government targets will prove unachievable.

The Government, for example, has said it will ban biodegradable waste from going to landfill in 2021. However, in 2017 there was still 1.09 million tonnes of it going in to the ground. That was just half as much as in 2005.

A spokesman for the waste industry lobby, the Environmental Services Association, stressed less than half of rubbish from homes was being recycled. The Government wants to achieve 50 per cent household waste recycling by 2020.

The ESA spokesman said: “Scotland’s household recycling rate continues to stall at around 45%, casting further doubt on our ability to meet the much higher recycling targets of the EU Circular Economy package.

“Closing the predicted 1 million tonne waste capacity gap upon implementation of Scotland’s landfill ban in 2021 is also based on the premise of much higher recycling rates. The Scottish Government is currently looking to recast the way in which Scotland’s waste and resources are managed with a series of ambitions plans across a number of policy areas.

A Scottish ban on dumping such waste could mean huge exports to English landfills - with tens of millions in landfill tax collected south rather than north of the border, according to research for the investigative journalism site The Ferret. Landfill tax rises to £94 per tonne next year.

There was some progress in 2017 on dealing with organic waste. The amount recycled by composting or anaerobic digestion continues to increase with almost 158,000 tonnes more being recycled than in 2011.

The amount of waste diverted from landfill through incineration - for power generation- increased by nearly 15 per cent. That amounted to 760,000 tonnes. Incineration, however, has proved controversial.