Green light for Northern Ireland’s largest energy-from-waste facility
A £107 million energy plant at Belfast’s harbour estate could bring around 250 jobs to the construction sector.
What will be the north’s largest energy-from-waste facility, providing 14.85 megawatts of energy from household waste, will also provide work for an additional 20 employees once it is up and running.
The financial case for the long-awaited Full Circle ‘Generation Energy from Waste’ facility, located adjacent to Bombardier’s wing facility, has just been completed, paving the way for work proper now to begin on site.
Design and preliminary site activities having already begun and developers are confident the facility, which will have the capacity to process up to 180,000 tonnes of feedstock derived from household waste, will be fully operational by late 2017.
The scheme will incorporate the use of gasification technology – a process that converts any material containing carbon into synthesis gas (syngas) which can then be burned to produce electricity or further processed to manufacture chemicals or fertilisers.
Gasification has been reliably used on a commercial scale worldwide for more than 60 years in the refining, fertilizer, and chemical industries – and for more than 35 years in the electric power industry – but is now being used to convert municipal and hazardous waste into valuable products.
Full Circle Generation Ltd is made up of a consortium of equity investors including RiverRidge Energy Limited, UK Green Investment Bank plc (GIB), Equitix and P3P Partners.
KPMG Corporate Finance Belfast were instrumental in structuring the all-equity deal finance arrangement with the ‘design, build and operate’ contract awarded to French construction group Bouygues Energies and Services.
Managing director of RiverRidge Energy and RiverRidge Recycling Ltd, Brett Ross, described the announcement as “a significant day” for the Northern Irish waste management sector.
“It is also a significant day for the Northern Irish economy as a whole,” Mr Ross said.
“The delivery of this critical piece of infrastructure provides a number of stakeholders with a world class facility capable of recovering energy from waste in an environmentally sensitive and acceptable manner, as well as the provision of a meaningful base load of renewable energy for Bombardier.”
The construction of the plant will allow for an annual generation capacity of 61GWh, enough renewable energy to power 14,500 homes.
Jonathan Bell, minister of enterprise, trade and investment at the Northern Ireland Assembly, said: “This multi-million pound project is hugely significant, not just for Belfast, but for the Northern Ireland economy as a whole as it will create hundreds of jobs and protect many more.
It will be fueled by feedstock derived of commercial and household waste, with a long-term feedstock contact in place with Pioneer Fuels to provide a continuous source of waste products.
Earlier this year, Northern Ireland’s renewable energy industry received a boost in the form of a fully-funded solar solution which could save businesses up to £320m. Kingspan ESB – a joint venture between building technology firm Kingspan and Ireland’s largest energy company ESB – made photovoltaic (PV) energy available to businesses without the investment normally required in the capital outlay, installation or maintenance of a PV system.