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Agrivert’s gas-to-grid AD plants go green

UK anaerobic digestion (AD) specialist Agrivert has announced the successful completion of G59 (first electricity supply to grid) at its two latest AD facilities; securing their tariffs for the next 20 years.

The two new plants in South Wales and North London will strengthen the network of food waste facilities that Agrivert operate to a total of five, increasing the company’s total food waste recycling capacity to 250,000 tonnes per annum and its geographical coverage to span Hertfordshire, London and the South East, Oxfordshire and South Wales.

Using food wastes produced by local householders, food manufacturers and retailers Agrivert produce a total of 13MW of renewable electricity, which is enough to power approximately 25,000 local homes.

Feed-in-tariff

This was a particularly complex year of construction for the business as they simultaneously delivered the construction of its own two new facilities, alongside the build of a second AD plant for Severn Trent Water (having built Severn Trent’s first food AD facility at Coleshill in 2014). Recent changes to government policy on renewable energy tariffs meant that all three facilities were under pressure to complete construction and achieve G59 in record timing in order to secure any ‘feed-in tariff’ (FIT) subsidies.

In previous years, a business missing a G59 deadline to secure FITs would have suffered a reduction in the amount of tariff that they were eligible to claim. However the FIT scheme has now effectively come to an end for any plant producing more than 1MW. The impact of missing the G59 deadline for larger plants results in the loss of the right to claim any subsidies making a plant finically inviable. Instead the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme will cover any new facilities that are built over 1MW in the future.

RHI remains available for gas to grid projects, yet the National Grid provides no guarantees to offtake of the gas produced by a plant, thus significantly increasing the level of risk involved and making securing investment far more challenging.

Agrivert’s new South Wales and North London facilities will provide a cost effective and sustainable outlet for up to 100,000 tonnes of food waste each year, powering 12,000 homes with the electricity produced. Furthermore the nutrient-rich biofertilisers produced by each plant will be used to benefit the surrounding agricultural land in place of petro-chemical derived fertilisers.

Alexander Maddan, CEO of Agrivert, said: “I am delighted to see us mark our success on this important milestone for the industry and secure the future of our latest AD plants. These facilities are likely to be the last of only a handful of food waste AD plants that remain to be built in the UK under the FIT scheme.

“Our construction and engineering team have demonstrated tremendous commitment through a busy period; managing three separate AD build projects and delivering this latest pair in a record 9 months construction period. Both plants will provide a stable and truly sustainable food waste solution to local communities and businesses alike and we look forward to opening the gates in the coming weeks.”

This story was written by Liz Gyekye, editor of Bioenergy Insight.





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