Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of MRW, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

2013 Review - Keith Riley

The book ”The Agony and the Ecstasy” summarises what it was like for EFW in 2013 – but not in that order.

2012 finished in ecstasy - a Parliamentary committee had supported Covanta’s planning application in Bedfordshire; the application for the Kings Lynn, Norfolk incinerator was reported to be ”on track”; and the Green Investment Bank (GIB) announced that they were injecting £100 million into biomass at Drax. Surely this bode well for EFW.

As the new year arrived, so did the agony. PFI was finished, and in January Eunomia reported excess EFW capacity in Europe - reinforced by data on RDF exports. Meanwhile, DEFRA made it clear that there would be no new waste policy and there was no reference to waste in DECC’s Renewable Energy Roadmap. The very future of the industry seemed to be questioned.

In March, Gloucestershire Council rejected the Javelin Park planning application, and DEFRA announced the withdrawal of PFI funding, effectively ending three EFW proposals. Following a budget with nothing for the waste sector, depression was widespread.

RDF production was different. Shanks opened their MBT plant in Cumbria, and in May SITA opened a ”Climafuel” facility in Birmingham. RDF became big business, and over 900,000 tpa was being exported from the UK. Meanwhile, the investment community worried about the future of EFW.

2013 has given ecstasy from new planning permissions and a clear emergence of new technologies - but agony was never far away. Developing EFW is a long, complex and costly business, and one that can cost the companies involved dearly. Despite successes, 2013 has proved devastating for some, with a waste of money and of peoples’ careers. One cannot help wondering whether this is best way of doing it.

Keith Riley, NRA lifetime achievement award winner in 2013, is proprietor of Vismundi Ltd, chairman of Energy Gap Ltd, a partner in BH Energy Gap LLP and non-executive director of Waste2Tricity Ltd, Distributed Renewable Energy Ltd and Solvert Ltd. This is taken from the MRW Handbook

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.