Resized Poolbeg would Boost Jobs and Waste Investment in Dublin

Resizing the controversial Poolbeg waste to energy facility proposed for Dublin to 300,000 tonnes,and increasing landfill prices could generate jobs and investment in the Dublin Region waste sector.

31 May 2011

Resizing the controversial Poolbeg waste to energy facility proposed for Dublin to 300,000 tonnes, combined with an increase in landfill prices could generate jobs and investment as part of a sustainable strategy for the development of the Dublin Region waste sector.

These are the key findings of a recently published report - A Jobs and Investment Plan for Dublin's Municipal Waste Sector - by the Irish Waste Management Association (IWMA).

According to the report, approximately 650,000 tonnes of waste treatment capacity is currently unused in the Dublin Region due to unsustainably low landfill costs - which makes other treatment alternatives uncompetitive.

In addition, the report claims that 670,000 tonnes of new capacity - in a range of treatment technologies including mechanical and biological treatment and the use of waste as support fuels for industry - can be brought on stream by the private waste sector in the Dublin Region within the next 36 months.

Combined, this treatment capacity can manage all waste arising in the Dublin Region, create 235 new, long term jobs and the underpin 900 existing jobs in the waste sector. The proposals involve the full utilisation of existing waste treatment capacity and the expansion of other forms of waste processing.

However, the IWMA warns that in order to deliver this potential, action is required to tackle two obstacles to the future development of the Dublin Region waste sector. Firstly, the price of landfill needs to be addressed and, secondly, the proposed incinerator at Poolbeg needs to be resized to an approximate capacity of 300,000 tonnes per annum.

Under current plans the Poolbeg incinerator is scheduled to have a 600,000 tpa capacity, but at this size the IWMA says that the facility will divert waste away from other treatment alternatives that generate approximately ten times the number of jobs supported by incineration processes.

Brendan Keane, Spokesperson for the IWMA, commented:

"The IWMA is today setting out a sustainable strategy for the development of the Dublin Region waste sector. Our plan is realistic and achievable, and sets out a roadmap for the development of a sector that is diverse, innovative and will generate significant additional employment. Critically, none of the IWMA development plans are underwritten by the taxpayer.

"Waste is a valuable resource that can be 'mined' to make new products or utilised as a source of energy. These plans will enhance the variety of ways in which waste is treated, creating jobs, promoting competition and benefitting the consumer," Keane added.

According to the IWMA, the current stalemate at Poolbeg means that there is huge uncertainty as to the future development of the Dublin Region waste sector. Clarity as to the size and timescale for the Poolbeg project - in gestation for almost two decades - is now needed so that investment can flow.

"A resized Poolbeg, treating 300,000 tonnes of waste per annum, and action to tackle the low cost of landfill will allow for the private waste sector to invest in new facilities in the coming three years, facilities that already have planning and licences. This is by far and away the best way forward for the Dublin Region waste sector, for employment generation, and for the economy," concluded Keane.

     







   

   
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