Around 40 million tonnes of residual waste “should be going towards energy recovery in the current climate”, according to Covanta Energy’s director of public affairs.
Speaking at the Institution of Civil Engineers’ ‘Energy from Waste 2011: Avoid Wasting the Opportunities’ conference, David Massingham said: “We think if you put municipal solid waste and commercial and industrial waste together, you are looking at something like 100 million tonnes in the UK. Let’s say if you get [a] 60% recycling [rate], there is a residual resource of somewhere around 40 million tonnes of waste that could be going to energy recovery – and we would say, in the current climate, should be going to energy recovery.”
He explained that energy recovery represented a “neat fit” solution to the “trillion euro trilemma”, which he described as the challenge of decarbonising energy production, improving security by deploying more domestic [energy] resources and keeping energy costs affordable.
Massingham added: “It is called the trillion euro trillemma because that is the estimate, for the 27 EU [member states], that the EU estimates needs to be invested in new energy generating capacity between now and 2020. That is a massive challenge and the UK’s share of that is something like £200bn.”
Covanta currently has a number of energy-from-waste facilities in development including Bedfordshire, Cheshire and Ince Park, near Chester.