Wheelabrator to sell four UK EfW plants

Reuters has reported that waste-to-energy developer Wheelabrator is planning to sell four of its UK-based plants, in a deal worth around £468 million.

Wheelabrator Technologies, which was acquired by Australian investment bank Macquarie Group in February 2019, owns 19 incinerators, including energy-from-waste (EfW) plants and ash disposal sites, in the US and the UK.

Of the four plants to be sold, two are wholly owned by Wheelabrator and two are co-owned by Wheelabrator and utility company SSE.

The plants to be sold include the Ferrybridge Multifuel facility in West Yorkshire and the EfW facility in Kemsley, Kent, as well as a facility in Wales worth around £305 million, which is currently still under construction.

The facility at Kemsley, which only entered into full operation in July 2020, has capacity for treating 550,000 tonnes of residual waste a year. The combined heat and power plant is slated to produce 44 MW (net) of baseload electricity, as well as steam heat to the DS Smith paper and card recycling plant nearby.

Waste management company Suez earlier this year agreed a contract to supply residual waste into the Kemsley facility and reduce its reliance on export markets for treating residual waste.

The total processing capacity of Wheelabrator’s four UK plants is over 2.2 million tonnes, with a total combined electric generating capacity of 245MW (gross).

The plants are likely to attract interest from private equity, infrastructure and pension funds that favour consistent returns from a sector classified as renewable energy.