Essex EfW with Viridor links set for permit change

Tilbury Greenpower Ltd is soon expected to have its plans approved to increase the power output at a proposed 350,000 tonne Energy from Waste (EfW) plant in Tilbury, Essex.

The company already owns and operates a biomass plant adjacent to the EfW site, having acquired the biomass and undeveloped EfW site in July 2021 for £246 million.

In January 2022 it applied to increase the electricity export capacity of the proposed EfW plant from an existing approval of 80MW to 88MW. Both the local authority for Tilbury – Thurrock council – and the Environment Agency have backed the plans, with the government expected to follow suit.

While the Tilbury Green biomass power plant is well-established, the proposed EfW facility has gone somewhat under-the-radar since it was first approved in 2009. Tilbury Greenpower bought the plant and site for the EfW for £246 million in July 2021. The owners of Tilbury Greenpower are Portugal’s biomass specialist GreenVolt (51 percent) and investment fund and developer Equitix (49 percent).

Recently, Equitix acquired a 20 percent stake in ownership of Viridor Energy from investment fund Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR). The Tilbury project has a director in common with Viridor Energy (Investments), with Dr Egan Archer on the board of both businesses.

Viridor is seen as having the UK’s largest and most diversified EfW portfolio and they could welcome the opportunity to be involved in the Tilbury facility.

Tilbury Green Power Ltd was first granted planning permission in 2009 to build a waste wood biomass plant alongside a residual waste EfW plant at Tilbury Docks, with a combined capacity of 650,000 tonnes.

The biomass plant was built and came into operation in April 2018, and processes around 270,000 tonnes per year of waste wood, with a 300,000-tonne capacity.

Since 2009 though, the EfW plant has been on hold. However, the operators of the facility have made frequent changes to the permit in this time, including changes to the site layout and removing a limit on waste brought to the plant by road.

The race to build waste processing infrastructure in the Southeast of England is hotting up. In East London and beyond, Cory group has permission for a second EfW facility in Belvedere, with a capacity of 655,000 tonnes. The company said this will address the “critical need” for capacity in London, the Southeast and the East of England. The company aims for this facility to be operational by the end of 2026.

Indaver recently opened an information cabin at its proposed EfW plant in Rivenhall, Essex. The 595,000-tonne facility has an operational date of 2025.

All the plants are seen as potential sources for waste from Essex County council and the East London Waste Authority and such contracts could prove crucial as to whether the plants are built.

Tilbury Green Biopower has not given a firm date for its EfW plant but is persevering with altering the permit it received in 2009. In January 2022 it applied to increase the output to 88MW from the permitted 80MW.

The Environment Agency and Thurrock council have both recommended the application for approval. The company says the move is as a result of technological advances and won’t impact other elements of the permit, such as capacity, so is likely to be accepted.


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