Brussels, 19 September 2012
State Aid: Commission authorises investment aid for UK ''energy from waste'' gasification plant in Kingston upon Hull
The European Commission has concluded that UK plans to grant £19,9 million (around €22,9) investment aid to Energy Works (Hull) Limited for the construction and commissioning of an ''energy from waste'' gasification plant in Kingston upon Hull are in line with EU state aid rules. The facility will generate 25MW of electricity from 190kT of waste. The renewable energy content of the combined feedstock will exceed 80%. The Commission found that the aid, funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using biodegradable waste to produce electricity and by diverting waste from landfill. Moreover, the project will contribute to the security and diversification of energy supply, in line with EU objectives.
Joaquín Almunia, Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy said: “This plant will produce electricity from partially biodegradable waste without unduly distorting competition in the internal market. This will allow the UK to diversify its electricity sources and at the same time reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
The Commission assessed the measure under the EU environmental aid guidelines (see MEMO/08/31) and found that the positive effects of the aid offset any potential distortions of competition brought about by the state support.
Gasification technology is considered to be an emerging technology in the waste treatment sector because it allows a cleaner and more efficient recovery of energy from waste than through traditional techniques.
The fluidised bed gasification process has several advantages over more conventional combustion technologies. Some are listed below:
• Better fuel mixing/heat distribution, improved conversion efficiency
• Lower fan power requirement, improved conversion efficiency
• Lower operating temperature, less emissions to air
Furthermore the gasification process produces a gas (syngas) with the potential to be used in high efficiency processes and it is complementary to recycling (easy to extract recyclates from the pre-treatment line).
By sourcing waste wood and the biodegradable fraction of commercial and industrial solid waste, the project will create CO2 emission savings of up to 57,000 tonnes per year once the plant is fully operational, as compared to a conventional gas fired electricity generating plant. Additional savings of 30,860.28 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year are made by avoiding harmful methane releases from decomposing waste. The key outcome of the project will be the development of this technology, with the potential to roll-out future projects throughout Europe. This will allow increasing the security of energy supply in Europe and diversifying energy supply sources.
Energy Works only holds a near to insignificant share in the UK electricity market. The aid is therefore not likely to generate significant distortions of competition.
The non-confidential version of the decisions will be made available under the case numbers SA.34051 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News.