In an exclusive interview for LAWR, Viridor’s outgoing CEO Colin Drummond called on the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) to set specific targets for generating electricity from EfW.

“Waste already accounts for nearly 2% of UK electricity and that’s comparable with wind,” Drummond told LAWR.

“It would be very nice if DECC could say in their renewable energy mix, we think there could be 6% of electricity from waste. They are able to spell out what they think is going to come from wind.”

Drummond said that waste as a feedstock could readily generate 6% of UK electricity by 2020 but added that this was a modest target.

“The Institution of Civil Engineers and separately the Institution of Mechanical Engineers estimate that waste could be 17-20% of electricity, so I am being soft by saying 6%,” he added.

Drummond, who steps down from the role of CEO in September, warned that the UK was sleep walking in to an energy crisis and urged ministers to take EfW more seriously.

He pointed out that in the future, the UK would need to divert waste from landfill and the only alternative for residues that could not be recycled was to burn them.

“I think that message is getting through but I would love for DECC to fully embrace the role of EfW,” he said.

Waste, he explained, had many benefits as an energy source. “There’s 90% utilisation. It’s not like wind, which is intermittent. It’s also distributed around the grid and that is a very major benefit because you don’t have the huge connection charges, which offshore wind has.”

But Drummond added that he was not knocking wind or tidal.

“I think we need any form of energy that we can get in the UK. But if DECC is prepared to give targets for wind, they should give targets for waste. I think it is good governance.”

Nick Warburton

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