Brussel — On 16. February 2016, the European Commission published its Communication on an EU Strategy on Heating and Cooling. ESWET welcomes this Communication and the accompanying documents, such as the Staff Working Document. ESWET is particularly pleased to underline the Commission’s view that “synergies between waste-to-energy processes and district heating/cooling could provide a secure, renewable, and in some cases, more affordable energy in displacing fossil fuels.” This indeed reflects a reality that has existed for decades in numerous EU Member States, where waste-to- energy plants supply heat to district heating systems.
Some examples in the Baltic States, where the synergy was recently implemented, tick all the boxes. New waste-to-energy plants in Tallinn, Estonia, and Klaipeda, Lithuania, have been connected to existing district heating networks, replacing imported gas with residual waste, which provides partly renewable energy. This waste would otherwise have been landfilled.
ESWET also welcomes the mention that a “forthcoming Commission’s Communication on waste-to-energy will address this issue in detail”. It is important that waste-to-energy, which has a role to play within the circular economy for residual waste, also makes the energy contained in residual waste available for efficient uses.
The goal is not to turn all combustible waste into energy: What can be used for quality recycling should be directed to that purpose. Still, a part of the millions of tonnes that are currently put in landfills, should be turned into valuable energy instead.
It is important that energy recovery from waste is performed in installations with state-of- the-art flue gas cleaning, fulfilling the strictest requirements. Installations must also have a proven track record, delivering on their promises. Finally, while many technologies can use the energy from waste, only waste-to-energy plants can actually export energy to heat and cool (and power) other users.
This is why the forthcoming Waste-to-Energy Communication will help addressing the question of how to produce more energy out of less and less waste: ESWET is looking forward to contribute to the discussion.
Source: European Suppliers of Waste-to-Energy Technology