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Poolbeg Waste to Energy Facility

  • 11-06-2012 7:21pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 5,297 ✭✭✭ Pete_Cavan


    I had a look for an old thread to revive on this but couldnt find one so decided to start a new one.

    Looks like the Poolbeg Incinerator is moving ahead;

    http://www.etenders.gov.ie/search/show/search_view.aspx?ID=JUN347555
    II.2)

    Quantity or Scope of the Contract

    II.2.1)

    Total quantity or scope

    Dublin City Council (acting on behalf of the four local authorities in Dublin), as part of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) agreement, is currently developing a Waste to Energy Facility at Poolbeg to treat up to 600,000 tonnes per annum of non-hazardous waste at Poolbeg Peninsula, Ringsend, Dublin 4.

    Following the completion of all Statutory Processes the project is now ready to proceed to the construction and commissioning phases.
    - The planning permission was granted by An Board Pleanána on 19th of November 2007 and can be reviewed at http://www.pleanala.ie/casenum/EF2022.htm
    - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) licence was granted in December 2008 and can be reviewed at http://www.epa.ie/terminalfour/waste/waste-view.jsp?regno=W0232-01
    - The licences from the commission for Energy Regulation were granted on 4th of September 2009.

    Information on the project background can be viewed at http://www.dublinwastetoenergy.ie
    Dublin City Council wishes to engage a multi-disciplinary, competent and suitably experienced Consultant to act as the Client's Representative for the waste to Energy facility for the construction and commissioning phases. The Client’s Representative will be appointed from the commencement of the construction phase of the Dublin Waste to Energy facility until the date of issue of the final performance certificate for the Waste to Energy facility.

    The services will involve carrying out Project Management, Contract Administration, Engineering review (including Civil/Structural/Architectural/Mechanical and Electrical), Environmental, Communication, Commercial and Legal services in line with the Department of Finance Standard Conditions of Engagement for Consultancy Services
    Article on the background to this here for those who are not familure with it.

    One of the biggest stumbling blocks for this project has been ensuring DCC can provide the 320,000 tonnes of waste required to meet the targets set out in the contract with Covanta. One way of doing this is to legislate that all waste left for collection becomes the property of the council and therefore they get to decide what happens to it. I couldnt find anything on this proposed legislation, the only thing of note I could find is Towards a new National Waste Policy Discussion Document August 2011 which classifies incineration as recovery rather then disposal and makes reference to the Indaver Incinerator in Meath;
    7.4. Recovery
    Recovery is defined in the Waste Framework Directive as any operation the
    principal result of which is waste serving a useful purpose by replacing other materials which would otherwise have been used to fulfil a particular function, or waste being prepared to fulfil that function, in the plant or in the wider economy.

    Ireland has a limited level of recovery facilities at this point. A common form of recovery is waste to energy facilities, more commonly referred to as “incinerators”. Provided such facilities meet specific requirements with regard to controlling their emissions and in relation to performance, such as in terms of the electricity they produce, they may be classed as being on the ‘’recovery’’ tier of the waste hierarchy. While sometimes controversial, incineration will have a role to play in treating the problematic residual waste that cannot be recycled or reused and by providing a source of energy, and Ireland’s first municipal waste to energy plant is scheduled to open later this year.
    This seems to suggest that incineration is part of the governments plans. I used to think incinerators were a good idea (converting something useless (waste) into something useful (energy)) but after seeing this issue debated on PrimeTime, the expert said general waste incinerators are not great because the burn materials of varying calorific values and moisture contents, making them less efficient then those burning a specific material.


Comments

  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 25,234 ✭✭✭✭ Sponge Bob


    And what else are we supposed to do absent landfilling it or barging it to Brazil ???

    Now that Gormley has gone ( and hopefully the state will not be sued rotten for his messing on this project) we had better simply build the thing. No nearby county will take Dublins rubbish.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,656 ✭✭✭ Marcusm


    I prefer w to p to "incinerator" although combined heat and power plant also appeals more than incinerator.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,630 Plowman


    This post has been deleted.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 267 ✭✭ OssianSmyth


    The idea of the Poolbeg incinerator was to solve a waste disposal problem for Dublin with a single large privately financed facility (chosen by the state). However, private companies began to collect and dispose of the waste that the Dublin councils had previously handled. In 2009, the High Court ruled that the councils did not own the city's domestic waste and could not prevent private companies from collecting and disposing of that waste. Meanwhile the company meant to build the incinerator failed in 2010 and 2011 to raise the finance for the project. This summer they are having another shot at fund raising €350m.

    So the council has no more waste to dispose of and the contractor has failed to raise the money to build the facility. The proposed district heating was predicated on significant new residential development around Poolbeg and the Point which did not come to pass. Private waste companies like Panda, meanwhile built recycling and disposal facilities elsewhere without government funding and saw no need for the incinerator. Indaver built an incinerator in Meath again without government revenue guarantees.

    The Poolbeg incinerator was to be subsidised in two ways: the state would guarantee the quantity of waste to be burnt and incineration would not be taxed to cover its pollution in the way that landfill is taxed. The guarantee would be similar to shadow motorway tolling where the concessionaire is paid a minimum amount if revenues fall short of expectations. Why the state should subsidise incineration is anyone's guess.

    €80m of state money has been spent to date on the project including €4m on PR.

    The European Commission is now investigating whether the project is in breach of EU Public Procurement directives. The basis of the complaint is that the contract is significantly different from what was tendered and requires a retender, that there was only one final bidder for the original tender and that the tender was sold by the original winning consortium to the current contractor in breach of tendering regulations.

    The complaint was lodged by Joe McCarthy and Valerie Jennings and is detailed here: http://fiasco.ie/incinerator/resources/Background_Material_re_Poolbeg_Incinerator_Complaint.pdf


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,661 ✭✭✭ Markcheese


    So no chance that this can or will all go away then .... Wasn't there some deadline that if it hadn't been built / started by a certain date then the contract could be renegotiated ..... It's one thing to have been sold a pup ... But because you've already spent 80million on buying a pup should you go out and buy the litter....

    Slava ukraini 🇺🇦



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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,297 ✭✭✭ Pete_Cavan


    The idea of the Poolbeg incinerator was to solve a waste disposal problem for Dublin with a single large privately financed facility (chosen by the state). However, private companies began to collect and dispose of the waste that the Dublin councils had previously handled. In 2009, the High Court ruled that the councils did not own the city's domestic waste and could not prevent private companies from collecting and disposing of that waste.
    But can the government still legislate that, by leaving your waste on the side of the road for collection, it then becomes the property of the state and they can then dictate where the waste is disposed, as I alluded to in the OP? Wouldnt such legislation be prudent regardless of whether the incinerator goes ahead?
    The Poolbeg incinerator was to be subsidised in two ways: the state would guarantee the quantity of waste to be burnt and incineration would not be taxed to cover its pollution in the way that landfill is taxed. The guarantee would be similar to shadow motorway tolling where the concessionaire is paid a minimum amount if revenues fall short of expectations. Why the state should subsidise incineration is anyone's guess.
    But are they subsidies? I am sure the same accusations could be made towards landfill and even recycling. I dont think that any method of waste disposal is taxed to cover its pollution. As with many of these taxes, the purpose here is to encourage or discourage a certain outcome, in this case to discourage landfill and encourage incineration. If the tax was based on covering its pollution, it would be an extremely complicated formula and there would be many variables which would change regularly. I am not advocating incineration, or dismissing your points, I just dont think the argument "Why the state should subsidise X" holds any water. The merits of incineration/landfill/whatever may be debatable, but we need some policy because without it there would be no investment in waste disposal infrastructure.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,661 ✭✭✭ Markcheese


    If by leaving my rubbish on the kerb, it becomes the councils property , are they responsibil for it weather I've paid them or panda or whoever ? Could this become a litter louts charter .... " as soon as it left my van it belongs to Dcc. " legal minefield ??

    Slava ukraini 🇺🇦



  • Closed Accounts Posts: 267 ✭✭ OssianSmyth


    Pete_Cavan wrote: »
    But can the government still legislate that, by leaving your waste on the side of the road for collection, it then becomes the property of the state and they can then dictate where the waste is disposed, as I alluded to in the OP?
    the government is currently trying to find a legal way to win back control of domestic waste. Their approach is to propose that each local authority be divided into smaller subdivisions and that an exclusive tender would be offered for waste collection in each subdivision. This proposal was the subject of a recent consultation
    http://www.environ.ie/en/Environment/Waste/PublicConsultations/#Reorganising%20Household%20Waste%20Collection

    If made law, the state would decide who gets to collect waste and could direct how that waste is disposed for example by incineration. Because the existing waste companies have made significant investments in more environmentally friendly means of disposal than incineration, they will not take kindly to being asked to bid for their own business in a state run auction.

    Dublin city council's contribution to the consultation was to state that they needed this market rigging to make their incinerator viable. Such a law would be opposed In the courts and would hold up the incinerator for years.
    But are they subsidies? I am sure the same accusations could be made towards landfill and even recycling. I dont think that any method of waste disposal is taxed to cover its pollution.
    The landfill levy is €65 per tonne and is priced to cover the pollution from escaping methane. Recycling does not create negative external environmental effects and does not require a special levy (it does create some residual landfill which is taxed as normal landfill).
    As with many of these taxes, the purpose here is to encourage or discourage a certain outcome, in this case to discourage landfill and encourage incineration. If the tax was based on covering its pollution, it would be an extremely complicated formula and there would be many variables which would change regularly.
    There are two environmental goals to the landfill tax: to compensate for environmental damage in pigovian style and to promote a waste disposal policy in line with the EU waste hierarchy meeting the landfill directive targets. You're right that it is complex to calculate the levy and that the calculation depends on changing variables. However economists have attempted to do just that.

    Central govt commissioned the Eunomia consultancy to work out the cost of pollution caused by incineration while Dublin city council asked the ESRI to do the same. While they came up with different amounts for the levy, both agreed that incineration creates both solid and airborne pollution and suggested levies between €5 and €30 per tonne. Hogan's department considered these two reports and recommended instead that the levy be set at zero. This means that for example the co2 produced by incineration is not charged unlike the co2 produced by driving a car or generating electricity from coal or gas.

    Why would a government in dire need of revenue decide to ignore multiple reports recommending the introduction of a modest commercial pollution tax in line with European regulations? I don't know. Why did Enda Kenny and Phil Hogan draft a bill to cancel the poolbeg incinerator in 2007 and state on the dail record that they were opposed to all incineration, and then meet up with the American company promoting the incinerator to assure them publicly that the regulatory envrironment would improve for them once they gained power? I don't know.

    The guaranteed minimum revenue clause constitutes a subsidy because it has an economic value. If the facility owner were to seek such a clause in a commercial contract they would have to pay for it at a value equal to the risk associated. Guaranteeing a quantity of incineration is strange because it conflicts with the EU waste hierarchy that advocates recycling before incineration.
    we need some policy because without it there would be no investment in waste disposal infrastructure.
    Waste companies like Panda have invested heavily to date in a range of disposal facilities from recycling to MBT, composting, incineration/w2e and rdf. Government policy in threatening to build a huge subsidised incinerator and finding a way to forcibly obtain domestic waste has had the effect of dissuading further investment in what was a functioning private competitive profitable tax paying business sector.

    The history of local authority involvement in waste collection has been one of grotesque mismanagement and poor service underwritten by ratepayers and central taxation. The local authorities have been forced out of the market by more innovative companies offering recycling and composting services at no cost to the state.

    Latest news is that Dublin city council has changed the contract with Covanta to offer a 45 year concession to operate the incinerator. Obviously this is nuts and unlikely to make it through the courts.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 624 Aidan1


    This means that for example the co2 produced by incineration is not charged unlike the co2 produced by driving a car or generating electricity from coal or gas.

    Really? Does it not need to purchase ETS carbon credits like any other similar industrial site?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 267 ✭✭ OssianSmyth


    Aidan1 wrote: »
    Really? Does it not need to purchase ETS carbon credits like any other similar industrial site?
    Municipal waste incineration is specifically excluded from the EU ETS. See 3.2.2 of this

    http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/ets/docs/guidance_interpretation_en.pdf


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 267 ✭✭ OssianSmyth


    Some updates...
    • This summer Covanta again failed to raise the money for this project.
    • Dublin City Council has extended the deadline to April 2013.
    • Dublin waste generated for disposal fell 20% in 2010 to 218ktonne
    • Dublin City Council is cooperating with the Commission enquiry into the procurement of the project.

    Why would Dublin City Council provide a 45yr guarantee backed with taxpayers' money to supply 320 ktonnes of waste for incineration per year when there is only 218kt available in the market?

    Why build a 600kt incinerator to deal with 218kt of waste? And why use public money to do so?

    2010 is the latest waste data available but since then, brown bins are being deployed and landfill levies have risen sharply. Everyone expects that the waste recovery rate has and will continue to rise steeply further undermining the case for this scheme.

    Dublin City Manager, John Tierney reaches the expiry of his contract next year. Perhaps a new city manager will back down from Poolbeg.


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