A major extension at SITA UK’s Tees Valley energy-from-waste facility at Haverton Hill, near Billingham, has passed stringent performance trials and has been handed over by contractors to the company.
The £70 million construction project was completed on budget and on time, and now the operational performance trials have been passed with flying colours.
The extension, which has been built on behalf of Northumberland County Council, will enable an additional 136,000 tonnes of waste to be diverted annually from landfill, and bring the total the whole plant can handle to nearly 390,000 tonnes per year.
Under a multi-million, 28-year Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract signed with Northumberland County Council in 2006, SITA UK is anticipating handling around 110,000 tonnes of waste at the Tees Valley facility in the next few years, rising to 130,000 tonnes in later years.
The ‘spare’ capacity – estimated at about 20-25,000 tonnes a year in the early years – will be made available at market prices to other councils or commercial customers, providing additional opportunity to divert more waste from landfill.
The extension alone will produce around 10MW of electricity, which is enough power to supply the energy needs for around 12,000 homes. This extra production means that in total over 30MW of power will be generated by the whole facility. The power produced will be fed into the National Grid.
Richard Hinchcliffe, SITA UK’s General Manager for the Northumberland PFI contract, said: "This major new facility will ensure SITA UK is able to achieve its commitments to Northumberland and the rest of the north east. I am really pleased that one of the Tees Valley’s largest construction projects and the testing of some extremely complex equipment has been commissioned without a hitch and exceeded all expectations.
"As Northumberland County Council’s partner we are committed to major investment in state-of-the-art new facilities that can help achieve ambitious landfill diversion targets that have been set under our contract.
"The extension at the energy-from-waste facility has been designed to the very highest environmentally friendly standards – far higher than the toughest European requirements."
Councillor Alan Thompson, Northumberland County Council’s Executive Member for the Environment added: "The completion of the extension on budget and on time, with an excellent health and safety record and capped-off with the remarkably successful performance trials, are a tribute to everyone who has worked on this important project.
"This new extension will help the county council to transform recycling and waste management in the county. The ultimate aim is to reduce the county’s long-term reliance on landfill, so that just eight per cent of the county’s waste goes to landfill by 2012.
"Our investment in energy-from-waste is driven by environmental considerations but also by the financial uncertainties of relying on landfilling. Access to the Tees Valley EfW facility will provide a huge benefit to the environment and save council tax payers millions of pounds in landfill tax in future years.
"In 2008, the county’s residents produced 160,000 tonnes of waste and achieved a recycling and composting rate of over 38 per cent, with 5 per cent being used as a fuel to generate electricity and the remaining 57 per cent being disposed of to landfill. By 2012 the target is to recycle and compost over 45 per cent of household waste in the county, to recover energy from non-recyclable waste and reduce the amount being sent to landfill to only 8 per cent, making Northumberland one of the greenest counties in the UK."
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