Veolia’s EfW plants achieve ‘record’ availability in 2021

Waste management company Veolia says its 10 operational energy from waste (EfW) plants across the UK generated enough electricity to power nearly 460,000 homes in 2021.

Veolia says its Marchwood EfW facility in Hampshire helped Veolia achieved 99% availability in 2021

Veolia says it was able to contribute 1.52 terawatt-hours (TWh) to the National Grid thanks to a record 96% availability across the plants.

The company published the data at a time when electricity prices and demand are soaring.

Donald Macphail, chief operating officer for treatment at Veolia, said: “The recent energy market volatility and the ability to deliver stable power has highlighted the importance of reliable sources of energy that can support our modern lives and the UK power infrastructure.

“As electricity demand grows due to factors such as population growth, adoption of electric vehicles, use of electricity to heat homes through heat pumps, and increased demand of the rapidly expanding internet of things, the UK will need more stable power sources.

“Avoiding landfill and its potentially damaging greenhouse gas emissions is a key priority as we look to stop climate change.”

Veolia also claims its plants alone supplied more electricity for the UK power network in July last year than all the country’s wind generation assets combined (see letsrecycle.com story).

Electricity

With a combined generating capacity of 180Mwe, Veolia’s 10 facilities between them processed around 2.5 million tonnes of waste in 2021, the company says.

Veolia’s 10 facilities between them processed around 2.5 million tonnes of waste in 2021

It says its plants in Chineham and Marchwood in Hampshire and South Bermondsey in London “led the way” with 99% availability across the whole of the year.

Three of Veolia’s plants in London, Sheffield and Leeds also used combined heat and power technology to supply around 2 GWh of heat equivalent for 120,000 homes, the company says.

It also claims it was the “first” operator of this type of EfW plant in the UK to achieve the high efficiency R1 standard for all its facilities, allowing it to treat the 15% increase in orange-bagged clinical and infectious materials arising from Covid-19-related waste.

Prices

In July last year, Claude Laruelle, Veolia’s chief financial officer, said in an interview with CNBC that Veolia would benefit from increased electricity prices through 2022 and 2023 (see letsrecycle.com story).

Donald Macphail is chief operating officer for treatment at Veolia

“We will see a gradual impact on Veolia in 2022 and 2023, but it will be a positive impact because we are net producers of energy from our waste activities and also our combined heat and power activities in Europe,” he said.

However, Mr Macphail told letsrecycle.com in October that most of Veolia’s contracts had “long-term price agreements”.

Mr Macphail also emphasised the role played by Veolia’s EfW plants in “keeping the lights on during winter evenings and during days where wind generation is low.”

According to consultancy Tolvik’s most recent data, Veolia had a 16.7% share of the UK EfW market in 2020 based on input tonnages.

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