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Government to open incinerator floodgates

The number of incinerators in the UK could rocket following a Government consultation that closed last week.

The document recommended broadening the types of energy from waste (EfW) technology allowed under electricity companies' renewables obligations.

Waste management firm Shanks uses incineration as part of its waste strategy and chief executive Michael Averill said: "The most cost effective and deliverable forms of providing renewable energy are through biomass co-firing and EfW.

"The long term development of both is currently constrained by the Renewables Obligation in its current form."

The Renewables Obligation requires licensed electricity suppliers to source a percentage of their supply from renewable sources.

At the moment they are required to supply just 4.9%, but this is set to rise to 10.4% in 2010, reaching 15.4% in 2015.

The Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) preliminary consultation on its review of the Renewables Obligation has acknowledged waste as an important source of renewable energy.

However, eligible EfW technology is currently limited to pyrolysis, gasification and anaerobic digestion.

The consultation document stated this was due to the Government's unwillingness to harm waste reduction, reuse and recycling.

But it also stated that as recycling rates were rapidly increasing and higher Renewable Obligations needed to be met, it was appropriate to look at broadening the energy from waste technologies that are acceptable.

Environmental solutions firm ADAS supports EfW and ADAS recycling and waste management specialist Ray Williams said: "Not only is renewable energy from waste a viable option in meeting the renewable energy targets, it also brings considerable benefits.

"For example, it stops material being landfilled and it reduces the transport of waste on lorries and trains as local systems could be developed to reduce pollution and road congestion."

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