The controversial energy from waste incinerator at Splott is to get £110m in support from the European Investment Bank (EIB), it has been confirmed.
During a site visit to the facility, owned by Viridor, the vice president of the EIB Jonathan Taylor confirmed that the EIB expected to provide £110m to support the new facility in the coming weeks.
The incinerator, or energy recovery facility, is the largest of its kind in Wales, treating waste from local authorities and local businesses.
It diverts at least 95% of non-recyclable waste in South Wales away from landfill and generates 30MW of electricity for the National Grid, enough to power around 50,000 households.
‘Vital renewable energy’
“Significant investment in energy recovery technology allows energy to be recovered from waste that cannot be recycled or reused and would previously have been sent to landfill sites,” said Mr Taylor.
“The new Cardiff Energy Recovery Facility shows how waste is being transformed into vital renewable energy for Wales and reflects the strong environmental commitment of the Welsh government and local authorities already working with the project.
“The European Investment Bank recognises the strong track record of Viridor, owned by Pennon Group, successfully implementing cutting edge plants across the country and we expect to finalise technical details for a £110m long-term EIB loan in the coming weeks.”
Energy recovery is an important part of the Welsh Government’s strategy for reducing the amount of waste going to landfill. However, the incinerator has been highly controversial with local residents and some environmental groups campaigning long and hard against its construction.
They argued that it would produce harmful emissions and would not help increase recycling rates. A High Court bid to prevent construction failed in 2014.
But campaigners in the Vale of Glamorgan are attempting to stop the construction in Barry of a facility to take the bottom ash from the Cardiff plant.
Eight facilities in operation
Susan Davy, Pennon Group director of finance, said: “We are delighted that the European Investment Bank is planning to provide funding for another of Viridor’s energy recovery facilities.
“Viridor now has eight energy recovery facilities in operation across the UK and a further three facilities are progressing well and will be delivered by March 2019. Together these facilities will deliver 242MW of de-centralised energy, transforming waste into a valuable social resource.
“Cardiff is a world-class plant built on time, below budget and to a high quality. Pennon Group has a strong relationship with the EIB and we look forward to continuing to work closely together in future.”
The Splott incinerator will handle 350,000 tonnes of waste annually. This includes household waste delivered by the five councils that make up the Prosiect Gwyrdd, Project Green, partnership: Cardiff, Newport, Monmouthshire, Vale of Glamorgan and Caerphilly.
Together they collect 40% of the total municipal waste in Wales.
As well as treating household waste on behalf of Prosiect Gwyrdd, the facility will also receive non-recyclable waste from local businesses and help to divert their waste away from landfill.
Record year for EIB support
Last year was a record one for the EIB’s engagement across the United Kingdom during which it provided £5.6bn to support more than £16bn of overall investment.
The EIB has supported investment in social housing, transport, energy, water and education across Wales for more than 40 years, including more than £2bn over the last decade.
Recent EIB engagement in Wales has included backing the new Swansea University Bay campus and cutting heating costs at Bangor University, financing for 10 housing associations across Wales, strengthening Vodafone mobile network in rural areas, improvements to the Welsh Water and Severn Trent network, key investment by Ford at Bridgend and Norgine at Hengoed, and financing for new high-speed Great Western Line trains expected to start operation in two year’s time.
Over the last five years the EIB has provided nearly than £930m for investment to improve treatment and disposal of waste in 13 countries across Europe. Support for waste investment in the UK, including plants in North Yorkshire and Devon as well as Wales, has been more than any other country.