Large-scale EfW set to lose out as Scotland steps up zero waste
Scotland's emerging waste treatment landscape will be dominated by localised facilities rather than large-scale energy recovery, a group of experts have forecast.
The country’s zero waste agenda, which is more ambitious and prescriptive than England’s, requires all waste to be pre-treated to remove recyclates before being sent for energy recovery.
This driver will not only incentivise operators to extract maximum value from the pre-treatment process, but should reduce the amount of residual material eligible for waste-to-energy, meaning that efficiencies will need to be maximised through robust heat capture plans.
According to Peel Environmental director Myles Kitcher, this will encourage more “appropriately sized facilities” to be built in close proximity to ‘waste hubs’ where the bulk of arisings are being generated.
His views follow a move by the Scottish Government last week to boost recycling infrastructure and collection systems with a new injection of funding for local authorities. As a result, investors are now being urged to look afresh at opportunities to boost reprocessing capacity in the country.
PPS Group’s director for Scotland Donald Anderson said that there was now a clear framework in place to support the type of facilities needed.
“The policies are good. A determination to use the resources properly can provide much needed material for reuse and create new energy at an attractive and affordable price,” he maintained.
His colleague PPS director Rebecca Eatwell added that the prescriptive nature of waste management outlined under Scottish regulations provided a level of certainty for developers, whether they were bidding for local contracts or building merchant facilities.