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Poolbeg Incinerator Contracts
(September 2007)
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Dublin City Council has signed a contract with a private sector partner to build and operate an incinerator at Poolbeg - preempting An Bord Pleanala's pending decision on planning permission for the project.

The contract includes a 'put or pay' clause whereby the Council guarantees to supply a minimum amount of waste to the incinerator or face financial penalties.

It is interesting to note that one of the firm's involved in the consortium has been fined for a number of environmental breaches in several US States.

Irish Times - 05-09-07 - Contract for Poolbeg Incinerator criticised by Green Party TD Ciaran Cuffe

Irish Times - 06-09-07 - Contract for Controversial Dublin Incinerator Signed

Sunday Business Post - 09-09-07 - US Firm in Poolbeg Plant Plan Fined for Breaches

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Irish Times - 05/09/2007
Council contract for Poolbeg incinerator criticised

Dublin City Council's decision to formally enter into a contract with its private sector partner, Dublin Waste to Energy Ltd, to construct and operate the proposed Poolbeg incinerator in Dublin's Ringsend has been criticised by Green Party TD Ciarán Cuffe.

The council's application for the controversial incinerator, which would burn 600,000 tonnes of waste annually, remains before An Bord Pleanála which is expected to make a decision on the project next month.

Dublin City Councillors don't want incineration. The Minister for the Environment doesn't want it. And the people of Dublin don't want it - they would much prefer to recycle their waste than have it burnt.
Ciarán Cuffe, Green Party TD GreenParty TD for Dun Laoghaire Ciarán Cuffe said he was "concerned that Council officials are attempting to pre-empt An Bord Pleanála's decision on the Poolbeg incinerator by making numerous financial commitments and guarantees before approval for the plant has even been granted."

"Dublin City Councillors don't want incineration. The Minister for the Environment doesn't want it. And the people of Dublin don't want it - they would much prefer to recycle their waste than have it burnt. I am therefore angry and mystified that unelected Council officials are pushing this project so strongly."

In a statement today, the council said it had successfully completed negotiations with Dublin Waste to Energy Ltd, the successor to Elsam Ireland Ltd - the original successful bidder for the public private partnership contract.

As a result, the council said, it had entered into a contract with the company to design, build, finance and operate the proposed Dublin Waste to Energy Plant at the Poolbeg Peninsula.

Assistant city manager Matt Twomey said the move was another milestone in the Ringsend project which has been ongoing since the late 1990s.

The council hopes that generating energy from the estimated up to 600,000 tonnes annually will provide electricity for 50,000 homes and district heating for a further 60,000 homes.

"When the Dublin Waste Plan achieves its ambitious targets of 59 per cent recycling and the amount of waste going to landfill is reduced from the current 70 per cent to just 16 per cent, there will still be 25 per cent of Dublin's waste remaining that has to be managed," the council said.

Minister for Environment John Gormley recently cast doubt on the future of incinerators in Ireland, saying he favoured a levy on all waste sent for incineration.

Incinerator developers contend that the current €15 per tonne levy imposed on waste sent to landfill should be significantly increased so as to an increase in the waste sent for burning.

Mr Gormley, who is also a TD in the Dublin south east constituency, was one of the strongest opponents of the project during his time in Opposition and was one of more than 2,000 individuals or environmental groups who lodged objections to the application with Bord Pleanála last October.

An Bord Pleanála has already granted planning permission for two incinerators in Co Meath and in Ringaskiddy, Co Cork.

© 2007 ireland.com

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Irish Times - 06-09-07
Contract for controversial Dublin incinerator signed
by Tim O'Brien

Dublin City Council says it has successfully concluded negotiations with its private sector partner for the construction of the controversial Poolbeg incinerator. The incinerator, an integral part of the city's waste management strategy, is designed to burn 600,000 tonnes of waste annually, generating electricity for up to 50,000 homes and supplying hot water heating for a further 60,000 households.

Yesterday's announcement that a contract had been signed came just two days after Minister for the Environment John Gormley reiterated his strong opposition to incinerator contracts of the type proposed for the Poolbeg peninsula.

Under the terms of the contract, Dublin Waste to Energy Ltd is to design, build, finance and operate the incinerator for 20 years. A key "put or pay" clause requires Dublin City Council to guarantee the waste annually, or make loss of profit payments to the company instead.

There is also a "windfall clause" in the contract which guarantees payments to the city council if profits reach specific levels.

The contract does not require Dublin Waste to Energy to provide the infrastructure for the hot water district heating system, but a spokesman said yesterday that the council was already installing the pipework across the Liffey to serve developments at Spencer Dock.

Dublin Waste to Energy Ltd is a joint venture company owned by Covanta Energy, USA, a subsidiary of Covanta Holding Corporation and Dong Energy Generation A/S, Denmark, formerly known as Elsam Kraft A/S.

Negotiations hit a rocky patch earlier this year when Eslam Kraft underwent restructuring. News of the restructuring led to then minister Michael McDowell claiming the deal was finished.

However, assistant city manager Matt Twomey yesterday said the difficulties had been successfully resolved. He said the project had been on-going since the late 1990s and the signing of the contract was a "milestone" along the way to its completion.

The Dublin Waste Plan proposes a target of 59 per cent recycling, and the amount of waste going to landfill is to be reduced from the current 70 per cent to just 16 per cent. But the plan envisages there would still be 25 per cent of Dublin's waste remaining that would be sent to the incinerator. However, in comments this week, Mr Gormley said guaranteeing waste to incinerators would act against waste minimisation efforts, including recycling and define waste management policy for up to 25 years.

While yesterday's announcement by the city council would appear to be in defiance of the Minister's views, The Irish Times understands that the contracts were actually signed between the city council and Dublin Waste to Energy two weeks ago.

A spokesman for the Minister said Mr Gormley was precluded from making any comment on the issue as the planning application was still before An Bord Pleanála.

Two other regulatory consents must be secured before the plant can go ahead. These are a licence from the Environmental Protection Agency and permission to generate electricity from the Commissioner for Energy Regulation.

© 2007 The Irish Times

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Sunday Business Post - 09-09-07
US firm in Poolbeg plant plan fined for breaches
By Pat Leahy, Political Correspondent

AUS firm that is part of the consortium planning to build and operate an incinerator at Poolbeg in Dublin has been fined for a number of environmental breaches in several US states.

American firm Covanta, which operates 32 so-called ‘waste-to-energy’ plants in the US, is a joint-venture partner with Danish company Dong Energy in the Dublin Waste to Energy company.

Dublin City Council last week signed a contract with the consortium for the Poolbeg incinerator. The Sunday Business Post has learned that Covanta - which emerged from bankruptcy in 2004 - has been fined for a number of environmental breaches.

In New Jersey, the company has been repeatedly fined for releasing excessive amounts of dioxin and other toxic emissions.

In the past year, the company has been ordered to pay more than $100,000 in fines, according to reports in local media. However, the company has also won a number of environmental awards.

The decision by the city council to sign the contract for the incinerator intensified a stand-off with environment minister John Gormley.

He is opposed to the project, but cannot directly intervene to block it, as the plans await approval from the planning authorities, the energy regulator and the Environmental Protection Agency.

However, Gormley intends to introduce a levy on all incineration, which will make the plant less economically attractive, subject to the approval of government. A review of waste policy has been promised in the programme for government agreed between the Green Party and Fianna Fail, following which Gormley will attempt to limit the numbers of incinerators built.

Gormley and Matt Twomey, the assistant city manager with responsibility for the project, have long been at odds over waste policy in the city. The council envisages that the Poolbeg incinerator will burn 600,000 tonnes of waste every year, and has given guarantees to the company to supply minimum amounts of waste - a provision opponents of the project claim will undermine efforts to reduce waste and promote recycling.

However, a statement from the council insists that even when the city reaches the ambitious target of 60 per cent recycling, EU directives on landfill mean there will still be about a quarter of the city’s waste which will have to go to incineration. Meanwhile, planning permission will shortly be sought for a rival incinerator plant just outside Dublin, adjacent to the Naas Road.

Energy Answers, an American company which operates a number of waste-to-energy plants in the United States is seeking to build a facility about half the size of the proposed Ringsend project.

The Energy Answers project, which will be built and operated with a number of Irish partners, is privately funded, and will not depend on guaranteed waste streams from any local authorities.

Pending planning approval, the plant will be operational by 2010.

     

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