The business secretary has told MRW that renewable energy projects based on waste are a ‘very attractive proposition’ and have the Government’s full backing.
Vince Cable made the comments as he officially opened the new Teg plant in Dagenham, as part of a tour of the London Sustainable Industries Park (see below).
The anaerobic digestion (AD) and in-vessel composting (IVC) facility has the capacity to process up to 50,000 tonnes of food and green waste per year, producing 1.4MW of electricity which is being sold to the National Grid.
It is the first co-located AD and IVC facility in London and Cable said the capital could accommodate 20 such plants if sites could be found.
“There is a problem about the availability of land: the waste is there; the economics stacks up. The fact they can generate power for the grid also meets a real need,” he said.
Speaking to MRW (above), Cable rejected suggestions that the waste sector was a poor relation of a renewables industry which included solar, wind and wave power.
“Drax was the first really big renewable project the Green Investment Bank (GIB) took on. [Biomass and AD projects] are easily done in the short run. The industrial and economic logic of these projects is already sound.
“We see renewable projects based on waste as being a very attractive proposition. We can get on and do it.”
Mick Fishwick, chief executive of the Teg Group, pointed out the project was completed on budget and on time and said: “This is the realisation of our vision to build London’s first AD facility and it is a high-quality, flagship facility fit for the capital.“
He said the £21m scheme would not have possible without the support of “visionary groups” - Barking and Dagenham Council and the Greater London Authority – which created the London Sustainable Industries Park, where Teg is sited, and eased the planning and development process.
“But the biggest challenge was funding,” he said. “Without the support from the GIB it would have been impossible for us to realise and build this important facility for London.”
He said GIB confidence in the project had helped attract key investors.
- GIB’s investment, via its UK Waste Resources and Energy Investments (UKWREI) fund, managed by Foresight, was announced in late 2012. The UKWREI fund made a £2m equity investment in the project, while Foresight Environmental Fund led the project with a £9m equity investment. The remaining £2m was provided by private sector investors. Senior debt of £7.9m was provided by Investec Bank plc and LWARB.
Vince Cable also visited Closed Loop Recycling’s plastic milk bottle recycling facility based at the Dagenham site. The company is investing £12m to increase capacity at the plant to 55,000 tonnes per annum, which it claims will make it the biggest milk bottle recycler in the world.
Cable said: “This new recycling line will create jobs and growth in a growing green industry. The significant investment in the Dagenham plant will also mean less of our plastic bottles being sent to landfill or exported for recycling. It is precisely the sort of project which can support the UK’s transition to a green economy.”
Closed Loop Recycling chief executive Chris Dow (above right) said: “Recycled milk and water bottles are a massive win for the circular economy. We discussed with the secretary of state and his team how we can provide economic drivers to reprocess these valuable resources in the UK, rather than being exported abroad for recycling.”