Veolia to build ‘first’ waste-to-energy facility in Latin America

Waste management firm Veolia, through its subsidiary Proactiva Medio Ambiente Mexico S.A. de C.V., has won a contract to build and operate what it describes as the first waste-to-energy facility in Latin America.

In a statement, it said that it won the public call for tenders published by the government of Mexico City to build the facility.

With a capacity twice that of the largest facility in France, this unit will treat around 1.6 million tonnes of household waste a year. The 30 year operation and maintenance contract of this facility will represent an estimated cumulative revenue of €886 million for Veolia.

Jointly with leading global and Mexican companies, Veolia will build and operate the first waste to energy plant in Latin America. It must be said that each day, the inhabitants of Mexico City generate 13,000 tonnes of waste. Untreated, this waste would cover the city’s central square, Plancha Zocalo, to a depth of one meter. At present, two-thirds of this waste is landfilled.

This new waste to energy facility will provide an efficient alternative for treating the waste from this city of 10 million people. Each day, it will convert about one-third of the city’s household waste into green energy. The 965,000 MWh of electricity produced each year by the plant will be used directly by the Mexico City Subway Metro.

Gustavo Migues, Latin America executive vice president at Veolia, said: “Today, waste can become a valuable resource. In this instance, Mexico City will favor the treatment of waste and the production of renewable energy. We are delighted to have been selected for this truly significant project, through which we will contribute to improving the quality of life of the citizens of Mexico City and their essential services, while also helping fight climate change.

“What we are going to do in Mexico City is the demonstration that our expertise in waste management - one of Veolia's core business - has a bright future ahead of it. The needs in Mexico, and more widely in Latin America, are such that we have a huge potential for development ".

The plant’s construction is due to begin in 2017 and will last 3 years. Operations are scheduled to start in 2020.

Active for 25 years in Mexico, Veolia serves 13 million people in the country and employs 3,000. Veolia treats 2.3 million tonnes of waste a year and provides 800,000 people with a waste collection service. With 500 million cubic meters of drinking water produced annually, Veolia Mexico meets the needs of the residents of 20 Mexican cities, it said in a statement.

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

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