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Ninth incinerator gets GIB backing

The Green Investment Bank (GIB) has announced investment in another energy-from-waste (EfW) incineration facility this week, with £35 million being committed to a new plant in Flintshire, North Wales.

The £180-million, 18.8-megawatt Wheelabrator Parc Adfer facility at Deeside Industrial Park is being built and operated under a public-private partnership (PPP) between five North Wales councils – Flintshire, Isle of Anglesey, Gwynedd, Conwy and Denbighshire – and has been pegged to accept up to 200,000 tonnes of waste every year.

Once it is operational (currently expected by the end of 2019), the facility is expected to generate approximately 133 gigawatt hours of electricity every year, enough, the project’s partners say, to power over 30,000 homes.

The plant is being developed by Wheelabrator Technologies Inc (WTI), an American incineration business that has 16 facilities across the US and the UK, and the company will also operate and maintain the facility upon construction.

Commenting on the investment, Edward Northam, Head of Investment Banking at GIB, said: “Parc Adfer is likely to be one of the last local authority waste PPP projects to reach financial close in the UK, bringing a 20-year programme to an end and ushering in a new era of waste infrastructure financing.

“Investors are already turning their attentions to the opportunities presented by new merchant infrastructure, which we believe could require up to £3.6 billion of additional funding by 2020.”

Paul Green, Managing Director of WTI UK, added: “The Wheelabrator Parc Adfer facility is another example of our commitment to investing in new and necessary energy recovery infrastructure across the UK. We remain focused on developing our pipeline for growth and building long-lasting relationships in the five North Wales authorities, as well as commercial waste companies across the UK.”

GIB continues to favour incineration projects

The GIB, launched in November 2012 to accelerate the UK’s transition to a greener economy, has to date committed £2.7 billion to 84 green infrastructure projects.

In the waste sector, the vast majority of the GIB’s investments have gone towards thermal EfW projects, with the bank investing in nine incinerators and several other facilities that include EfW facilities. Between them, these nine projects have received almost £340 million in investment from the government-funded institution, which is currently going through a privatisation process.

In October, the bank announced a £28-million investment into an incinerator planned by Zero Waste: Edinburgh and Midlothian, a joint venture between City of Edinburgh Council and Midlothian Council.

In August 2015, Eunomia Research & Consulting Chairman Dominic Hogg wrote that as of that summer, the 12 waste projects backed by the GIB yielded a total of 2.3 million tonnes per annum of treatment capacity, noting: ‘Of this, three per cent is for recycling, 11 per cent for [anaerobic digestion] AD and 87.5 per cent thermal energy from waste (EfW).’

Further, out of the then-almost £300 million in investment, almost 90 per cent had been made in projects that are mostly or wholly thermal EfW (including incineration and advanced thermal treatments), a figure that would have been higher had plans for an incineration facility in Norfolk not been withdrawn after investment was committed.

Since that article was published, six further waste projects have been backed by the GIB, of which three are incinerators, at a combined investment of £110 million, while three are anaerobic digestion facilities.

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