Waste management company Biffa has undertaken its own examination of the UK energy from waste market, saying there has been a ‘reality gap’ between analysis undertaken to date and the way the market truly operates. Their report, they say, has looked at realistic future waste arising scenarios, the impact of these on “conversion” of currently consented UK projects into operational energy from waste plant, supply and demand interplay between waste arisings and operational plant and the resulting balance.
The introduction of the report, ‘The reality gap – UK residual waste treatment capacity, making sense of the arguments’, notes that the majority of reports published on the issue over the last five years have predicted capacity gaps, and therefore a continued need for infrastructure investment. However, it says that to date, straight mathematical gap analysis has been applied, setting predicted future waste arisings against predicted future capacity, which masks market dynamics linked to the geographical spread of infrastructure. Instead, this analysis has been carried out in terms of likely realistic future waste arising scenarios, the impact of that on the conversion of currently consented UK projects into operational energy from waste plants, the supply and demand interplay between these and the resulting balance.
Key findings include:
So overall, this report concludes it seems unlikely energy from waste overcapacity will become reality in the UK, as private sector funders will not fund large scale EfW plants without the market to support them. The authors state that the impact of overcapacity elsewhere in Europe makes UK project funders wary. They add that securing funding for UK EfW projects now, even with a substantial market, is challenging, unless substantial volumes of feedstock can be secured. They add that the interdependence of waste availability and infrastructure has gone unacknowledged in many reports, and predict the market will achieve a natural working balance – with a reduced capacity gap.
At Clarity, we offer an expanding range of waste to fuel solutions and work across the UK and export markets for RDF and SRF. To find out more call our team on 0845 129 7177.