RHI Tariff Alterations to “Halt” AD Development

Concern has been shown over a consultation published by DECC setting out plans to reduce financial support for biomethane from AD facilities. The proposed changes would render biomethane projects injecting over 850KWe to the gas grid each year unviable for RHI tariff support.

The cut-off for this support is the cause of the concern as the all biomethane projects currently in development have projected outputs larger than 850KWe which is deemed roughly half the size of a typical plant.

With biomethane injection projected to generate 15% of total renewable hear deployment under RHI by 2015/16, DECC has suggested plants with more than 2MW capacity will be overcompensated.

Whilst it is accepted that this issue needs looking into, making the tariff available only for very small plants is thought unlikely to maximise the value of biomethane feedstocks by incentivising the construction of facilities with large enough capacity to build the UK supply as well as previously thought.

EU to Unveil Higher Recycling Targets

Janez, Potocnik, outgoing Commissioner for the Environment, has confirmed that the European Commission will outline proposals for the revision of recycling and landfill diversion targets within the next two months. It is thought that Member states will be expected to recycle at least 60% by the next decade rising to as much as 75% by 2030.

Potocnik is keen to lay the foundations for a more ambitious EU policy before a new Commission is appointed in October 2014. The new targets will form part of a comprehensive approach towards a circular economy within the EU where materials are pumped back into productive use rather than buried in landfill sites so that more value is added to each tonne of material.

Additionally, the landfill diversion targets for biodegradable wastes are set to increase along with restrictions being put in place to limit the landfilling and incineration of plastic materials.

Currently, Member states are required to recycle 50% or more of household waste by 2020.

RSK Geophysics as a Ground Investigation Tool

Fellows Environmental attended a seminar on geophysical techniques at the University of Liverpool on Wednesday 16th October. The seminar, run by RSK Consultants, was very well attended with RSK providing a generous number of staff to lead workshops and give presentations. The workshops were taken outside in a nearby area of open space and gave all attendees an overview of the main techniques, equipment and methodologies used for non-intrusive ground investigations with an opportunity to have a go with the equipment and see the live-results when using such equipment in the field.

Presentations centred around the importance of post-processing following the initial work in the field and a common theme all day was distinguishing between what is “fact” and what can be implied from the results by an experienced geophysicist. The value of thorough planning for an investigation was illustrated as was the importance of knowing when to use geophysical investigations, intrusive testing or a mixture of both.

Overall, the day-long seminar was one of the better events Fellows Environmental has attended with a good range of personnel present and a very good combination of hands-on learning with explanations from experts in the field.

CIWM NMN Hespin Wood Site Visit

Fellows Environmental attended the CIWM New Member Network visit to Shanks’ Hespin Wood MBT facility on Monday 30th September. Nick Fellows, as part of the CIWM North West Centre Council, had a large part in organising the trip and was pleased that interest in the event was high. The event capacity, set by Shanks, was met within days of the event details being published with a range of new and more experienced CIWM members attending.

The event itself was a success with a presentation about Shanks’ facilities and activities as a whole before being given a detailed description of the Hespin Wood facility operations. Following the presentation, the attendees were taken around the MBT facility to see the technology in action and had the opportunity to ask plenty of questions about the largely automated processes and the general running of the facility. To finish off, everyone was taken on a tour of the adjacent landfill site which gave a good overview of the rest of the local waste infrastructure and how it all fits together.

Labour – Energy Price Freeze

At the recent Labour Party Conference, Ed Miliband pledged to pass emergency laws, should Labour be elected into office, that prohibit energy companies from raising gas and electricity tariffs for a 20 month period. The announcement comes at a time when energy prices are “soaring” with the Big Six being pointed out for blame: “When wholesale prices go up, you pay more,” he said. “When wholesale prices come down, you still pay more.”. Miliband also announced that a new regulator would be put in place to replace the “weak” Ofgem and that the 20 month period, where rises in line with inflation would also be banned, would see a “reset” with lasting reforms on energy policy created to be passed into law by 2017.

The speech was well received at the conference but the policy has come in for criticism elsewhere. Whilst a price freeze is set to protect consumers from rising prices, the expected loss to industry of around £4.5billion is thought to put off investment in the new infrastructure necessary for the energy sector to move towards sustainability through the development of renewable energy. There is also debate about whether the lack of income will slow down the roll-out of smart meters to the general public which are seen as having a significant impact on individuals’, and therefore the nations’, energy-use.

There is still a long wait until the potential implementation of this policy but the debate brought about by the opposition leader’s speech implies a certain worry from the energy providers that there is a strong possibility of this policy going ahead.

The Site Waste Management Plans Repeal Consultation

Defra are consulting over the proposed repeal of the construction Site Waste Management Plans regulations. The Government’s Red Tape Challenge of 2012 to remove unnecessary legislation and free up businesses is the driver for this potential change. However, before progressing with the full SWMP removal, Defra seek to understand the full implications of such action. An online survey has been published and will be open until 16th July 2013 for people from industry to air their views and aid Defra with the final decision.

Circular Economy

The term “Circular Economy” has been seen in the media a lot more than usual lately. This is partially down to the ESA publishing their guidance document, Going for Growth, detailing 10 steps for the Waste and Resources industry to take in order for it to deliver a circular economy, highlighting the importance of product and packaging design and advising that recycling should take place at multi- or single-stream Material Recycling Facilities.

It has been stated that the implementation of a circular economy could be worth £10 billion in investment to the country whilst 50,000 new jobs may arise as a result.

The benefits are certainly being pursued with brand leaders converging on London for the first Circular Economy 100 Summit (19 June). The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is leading the summit, with members of the Circular Economy 100, a global alliance set up in February 2013, in attendance. The summit hopes to build on the work already undertaken by the CE100 members, who have triggered circular initiatives targeting £1bn in resource savings and new revenues.

Follow the Fellows Environmental Blog and Waste News pages of the website for further news and information.

Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 gains Royal Assent

The successful passing of the government’s flagship growth legislation is set to bring about a number of key changes to the planning system, including major reforms in terms of how applications are determined and discharged by local planning authorities.

Under the new Act there will be a three-year ‘window’ within which developers will be able to renegotiate section 106 agreements that have made a scheme economically unviable. The Department for Communities and Local Government expects that the new measures will jump-start developments including around 75,000 new homes that are currently stalled because the schemes are no longer viable.

Where local authorities have been placed in a ‘special measures’ category because they have consistently failed to consider planning applications on time, developers will be able to submit planning applications directly to the Planning Inspectorate for determination. The Act also includes measures to simplify the planning system including a limit on the information a local authority can require to be submitted alongside a planning application.


Introductory Energy from Waste Courses

Fellows Environmental are joining forces with Stopford Energy and Environment and Envirolink to deliver two one-day training courses this autumn which aim to disentangle the complexities of the Energy from Waste sector.

Thursday 25th October – Feedstocks and Technologies for Energy from Waste Schemes – Information

The first course provides a thorough grounding in the principles of energy recovery from waste, an awareness of available technologies, and the ability to make informed, evidence-based decisions.

Thursday 1st November – Policy and Financial Considerations for Energy from Waste Schemes – Information

The second course gives a broad understanding of the waste policy framework within which EfW exists, an in depth knowledge of financial incentives and disincentives, and a grasp of the planning and environmental permitting systems.

The issues covered in the two courses are crucial for enabling new schemes to be developed and operated successfully and for schemes to be well conceived, access all available benefits and deal with potential obstacles to progress at an early stage.

Both courses are accredited by the Chartered Institute of Wastes Management (CIWM) and will provide delegates with a thorough grounding of either the theoretical and practical aspects of EfW schemes or the key waste policy and financial considerations to take when involved in such a project.

ROC Banding Review

DECC has published the ROC Banding Review stating changes to subsidies for renewable energy technologies for the period 2013-17 following a recent consultation process. Overall, support for the waste sector is better than expected considering the bandings initially proposed. EfW & CHP will receive 1ROC and standard Pyrolysis and Gasification are in-line to receive 2ROCs despite the consultation document stating support of only 0.5ROCs. Landfill Gas also gets an improved array of bands providing greater overall support than was initially proposed.

However, the negative issue for the waste sector is the changes to support for Anaerobic Digestion. There were suggestions that AD with CHP might get an increase of 0.5ROCs, but this has not occurred. More drastically, support for new facilities under 0.5MW will be completely removed from 1 April 2013, pending a further consultation. This appears somewhat of a U-turn from the aims specified in the AD Strategy and Action Plan released last year which stated a wish for large quantities of smaller, regional AD plants and has taken the AD industry by surprise.