Saturday 22 October 2016

Poolbeg incinerator 'already has more waste than it needs'

Poolbeg incinerator
Poolbeg incinerator

The controversial €600m Poolbeg incinerator - due to open late next year - is already oversubscribed for waste.

The operators have told Dublin City Council the project will work at full capacity when it is completed - without using any imported waste.

Dublin Waste to Energy Limited (DWTEL) has informed the council they have already signed two long-term contracts for up to 60pc of the facility's capacity.

The company said it is continuing to progress contract discussions with waste collectors to fill the remaining 40pc of the facility's capacity, for which they said they are "oversubscribed".

"It is, therefore, expected that the facility will operate at full capacity," the council said, in a written reply to Independent councillor Ruairi McGinley.


The project, which has been dogged by years of controversy over environmental impact and capacity, will see the construction of a facility capable of burning 600,000 tonnes of waste per year.

Dublin city councillors had voted to scrap the proposed incinerator altogether.

The decision by the current management to proceed was one of the most significant taken since unelected Owen Keegan succeeded John Tierney as Dublin City Manager.

Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons once described the incinerator as a "most enormous step back" for Ireland.

The environmentalist and presenter of the multi-award- winning documentary Trashed, last year described incineration as "a very dangerous way to get rid of trash".

He pointed out that while making the film, he visited a village in France which once had an incinerator close by. Some 26pc of residents developed cancer, he said.

Another concern with the incinerator was that there would not be enough waste generated to feed it, with the possibility that waste would have to be imported from abroad.

However, a statement from Covanta, the US private partner in the project, to the Herald said that no waste will be imported for the plant.

The confirmation is significant, as last year the operators of the incinerator refused to rule out importing waste from abroad to burn in the power station.

Construction work commenced on the site in October 2014 and remains on schedule for completion in October 2017.

The civil designer and construction manager have estimated that the facility construction is now more than 50pc complete.

Civil works have so far focused on completing the installation of structural steel and cladding for the main building of the project.

However, the process systems designer has now focused on the management of equipment installation and facility commissioning through to the commencement of operations.

Meanwhile, the council's executive manager has said the 3pc to be given as community gain - to fund local community projects - has increased from €8m to €10.38m.


He rejected claims that the amount should be €15m as a percentage of overall capital costs.

Residents of Sandymount, Ringsend and Irishtown have remained unhappy and "disappointed" that the huge plant was given approval.

"The incinerator is an abomination and looks much bigger already than what I expected," life-long Sandymount resident Michael Flynn (60) said last month.

Covanta has argued that the plant will allow Ireland meet its EU obligations to divert waste from landfill and will make "a significant contribution" to the reduction of greenhouse gasses.

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