R1 Climate Correction Factor for Waste to Energy Plants Finally Agreed

Hubert de Chefdebien and Guillaume Perron-Pich of the European Suppliers of Waste to Energy Technology discuss the latest developments to the R1 Formula enacted by the Commission and Member States on 17 November 2014 

Recycling Waste to Energy Markets & Policy opinion

Hubert de Chefdebien (pictured) and Guillaume Perron-Piché of the European Suppliers of Waste to Energy Technology discuss the latest developments to the R1 Formula enacted by the Commission and Member States on 17 November 2014…

After six years of studies and discussions, the European Commission has finally gotten a favourable vote from Member States on its proposal for an R1 Formula Climate Correction Factor.

This criterion, defined in the Waste Framework Directive from 2008 (2008/98/EC), determines whether a Waste-to-Energy plant performs a “Recovery operation” (hence Recovery 1 – R1) or a “Disposal operation” (hence Disposal 10 – D10).

Much more ambitious than conventional energy efficiency formulas, the R1 criterion does not only look at the plant’s ability to recover the energy contained in waste, it also examines the effective use of this energy, whether it is by third parties or in the plant itself.

The R1 Formula is tilted in favour of using the energy as heat rather than as electricity. It is therefore easier for plants located in cold regions to reach high R1 levels than those in warm areas.

The discussion was heavily influenced by “market” considerations. The Transboundary Shipment of Waste Regulation allows Member States, both at the emitting and receiving ends of the shipment, to oppose shipments destined for “Disposal operations” while it is nearly impossible to oppose shipments to plants performing a “Recovery operation”.

The Commission came up with a political compromise that, it concedes, is far from compensating the real effect that warm ambient air has on electrical production efficiency and especially on the lower demand for heat.

It is a concern that the R1, already more challenging for new (0.65 threshold to reach) than for existing plants (0.60), is now complemented by a Factor that will be reduced after 15 years for existing plants while climate is rather warming.

It is also a pity that the Factor is not modulated according to the capacity of the plant as the R1 status is in general more difficult to reach for small plants than for large ones.

Still, the Factor enacted by the Commission and Member States on 17 November 2014 recognises the extra challenge that installations in warm areas are facing and partially alleviates this imbalance, enabling them to get a bit closer to reaching the ambitious level set by the R1 Formula, which would otherwise have remained beyond their reach.

Hubert de Chefdebien, head of institutional relations at in CNIM and chairman of the Technical Committee of ESWET, and Guillaume Perron-Piché, policy officer at ESWET - the European Suppliers of Waste to Energy Technology, which actively worked at elaborating this Climate Factor.


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