Sheffield is at the forefront of developments in urban sustainable energy and the ERF generates up to 19MW of electricity for the National Grid, which is enough energy to power up to 22,600 homes. In addition, through the District Energy network, up to 45MW of heat is also supplied to over 140 city centre buildings used by thousands of residents making it the largest network of its kind in the UK.
The ERF is powered by household waste with an energy content equivalent to a third of a tonne of coal, which plays a significant role in helping Sheffield to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. In addition, the facility saves up to 21,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year making it a greener energy alternative than conventional fuel sources.
To ensure the facility will operate at optimum efficiency in line with its approved 225,000 tonnes per annum capacity, Veolia has recently submitted a planning application to Sheffield City Council.
Currently the facility takes 50,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste from outside Sheffield. Plans submitted seek to increase this to 65,000 tonnes from a slightly larger catchment area outside Sheffield which will include: South Yorkshire, North Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire. This will help reduce the amount of non-recyclable waste which is sent to landfill in these areas.
Nigel Williams, Director for Veolia Environmental Services in Sheffield, said: "The planning application will not lead to any physical changes at the energy recovery facility or any increase to the existing capacity.
“We currently take 50,000 tonnes of our 225,000 tonne annual capacity from a limited catchment outside Sheffield. The planning application submitted seeks permission for this to increase to 65,000 tonnes and includes a slightly larger catchment including additional areas within Yorkshire, North Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire.
“Energy regulator, Ofgem has recently highlighted a fear that the number of energy generating facilities in the country may be inadequate to meet increasing energy demands in the coming years. Facilities such as the one we have here in Sheffield recovers energy from waste that would otherwise be lost by going to landfill. The plant is pivotal to the city’s low carbon strategy and it is vital that it operates at optimum efficiency.”
The determination of the planning application is expected to take around 16 weeks with a response anticipated in spring 2013.
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