Estelle Brachlianoff, Veolia Environnement Executive Vice-President – UK & Northern Europe, said:
“Reducing energy bills will help consumers in the short term, but today’s measures do nothing to guard against price volatility in the coming years. We must diversify further, and in doing so we should not ignore a vast resource that is quite literally sitting on our doorstep: household black bag waste.
“Projects are already under way that prove waste from homes can be profitably converted into energy through district heating projects – allowing residents to secure their bills for the next twenty years*. Commercial residual waste is also a major untapped resource that is currently being overlooked.
“It is estimated that waste from homes and businesses could provide heat and power for over 250,000 homes in London alone but this means changing perceptions that renewable energy is just about wind turbines and solar panels."
*District heating case study
Within the UK, district heating is in its relative infancy, yet it offers the potential to help us leave the carbon era behind and allow residents to secure their heating bills for twenty years because the cost of production needn’t rise in the same way as the price of oil and gas.
A case in point is Southwark, where 2,500 homes on five Bermondsey estates will benefit from London’s first low carbon energy from heat network which will save 8,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.
The scheme which combines energy from waste and district heating benefits the environment by reducing carbon emissions. It will also help keep the radiators on, diversifying supply and improving energy security by providing local heat and electricity from residents’ domestic residual waste as opposed to imported fossil fuels.
Opened last week by Veolia’s Estelle Brachlianoff and Cllr. Barrie Hargrove of Southwark Council, the district heating network is powered via the SELCHP energy recovery facility which converts 430,000 tonnes of decomposed black bag waste into electricity heat and hot water.
Veolia already operates one award-winning District Energy Network in Sheffield in partnership with Sheffield City Council. The network provides heat for local residents, students and even snooker fans that visit the city’s famous Crucible Theatre.
But it is the future that Brachlianoff is really interested in. The company has five other existing CHP-enabled energy recovery facilities and three more in construction – in Staffordshire (opens 2014), Shropshire (2015) and Leeds (2016) – as part of a £1 billion UK infrastructure investment by 2018.
To make this happen the company needs industrial customers with the necessary heat demand and realistic, renewable subsidies that are technology neutral and based on the electricity and heat we supply. The schemes will help the company make the circular economy a reality – and just as importantly help local people secure their heating bills.
Veolia Environmental Services
210 Pentonville Road
Tel: +44(0)20 7812 5038