Greatmoor puts the 'great' in EfW

Written by: FCC Environment | Published:

As part of the Energy from Waste 2017 Conference programme, delegates have the opportunity to visit the UK’s newest energy from waste plant in Buckinghamshire on Monday, 20 February

The energy from waste plant near Aylesbury was officially opened in October 2016 by HRH The Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO.

Now Buckinghamshire County Council, together with waste and resource management specialist FCC Environment who operate the facility on their behalf, are opening the doors to delegates to showcase the development and explain the benefits it will deliver to the county and the community.

Construction of the new EfW facility, designed and built by Hitachi Zosen INOVA (HZI) and funded through an innovative use of construction-only finance and prudential borrowing began in September 2013. The site is now fully operational employing 46 full-time, permanent operatives adding to FCC Environments’ portfolio of plants in Kent, Lincolnshire and Nottingham with a further facility now in build in Edinburgh and Midlothian.

During the official opening ceremony, the council’s cabinet member for planning & environment Warren Whyte
explained: “Not only does Greatmoor generate renewable energy from the county’s waste, it also stands to save local taxpayers £150 million over the lifetime of the contract.”

Greatmoor EfW will convert Buckinghamshire’s household and business waste, the material that cannot otherwise be recycled, into renewable energy. This will reduce the county’s dependence on landfill disposal. The contract is scheduled to run for 30 years bringing sustainability and economic benefits to Buckinghamshire.

The new facility will treat up to 300,000 tonnes of residual waste each year and will generate 22MW of electricity – the equivalent to the electricity needs required to power up to 36,000 homes. The facility will be the primary disposal point for all of Buckinghamshire’s local authority waste.

It’s a community affair

Aylesbury Vale District Council and some of the county’s household recycling centres will deliver waste directly to the facility, with the three southern districts councils (South Bucks, Chiltern and Wycombe) and the rest of the recycling centres using a waste transfer station near High Wycombe.

The waste transfer station, which has also been constructed as part of the contract between FCC and Buckinghamshire County Council, is used to bulk waste into articulated lorries for onward transport to the EfW facility.

“The construction of Greatmoor EfW marks an important step forward for FCC Environment as the business continues to develop, focusing on its customers’ requirements for extracting value, in the form of energy, from the waste left over after recycling has taken place. Greatmoor EfW represents an integrated service of which the county can be proud,” said Paul Taylor, FCC Environment chief executive.

FCC viewpoint on EfW

Energy from Waste (EfW) is well established within the EU’s ‘waste hierarchy’. In northern continental Europe and Scandinavia, in particular, EfW plays a crucial role in modern waste management systems. Sweden, for example, has developed large capacity and skills in efficient and profitable waste treatment.

It burns around 50% of household waste to produce energy – and even imports waste from other countries to burn, including the UK.

However EfW still has a poor image in the UK, one that is not only persistent but one that it also outdated. Since the EU referendum result in June, which has left the future of EU environmental targets in doubt, there is now an opportunity for the UK to fully embrace EfW as a viable, sustainable and cost-efficient method of modern waste management.

We as an industry are submitting evidence to the NIA consultation which outlines how £10bn capital investment from the UK government could enable the waste industry to deliver 50,000 new jobs and boost GDP by an additional £3bn. The investment would be used to replace ageing infrastructure and address a waste capacity gap of around 20 million tonnes. Moreover, the ESA submission points out how the infrastructure to help the UK meet its renewable heat targets is not currently being maximised.

There is, therefore, an opportunity for the Commission to consider waste infrastructure alongside energy generation and distribution to ensure the UK can access cleaner, cheaper and more secure energy.

Now is the time to engage with decision-makers to build greater understanding of the current market reality and the role EfW can play. We are calling for specific reassurances from government that commit to creating a positive environment for merchant-backed investment to ensure that EfW forms part of the UK’s long-term energy mix.


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