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Waste-to-energy potential in Scotland

The Scottish Government has released a report showing that waste-to-energy could be used in part to heat and power Scotland.

Among the conclusions of the waste-to-energy report, is that:

  • Heat only plants could meet 6% of Scotland’s existing heat needs;
  • Electricity production in waste-to-energy facilities could meet 8% of Scotland’s existing electricity demand; and
  • Combined heat and power (CHP) waste treatment plants could meet 3% of Scotland’s total heat and electricity demand.

Scottish Energy Minister Jim Mather says: “Our Zero Waste Plan outlines how we can all prevent waste, increase recycling and reuse valuable resources. Yet energy from waste has a part to play in a low carbon society where all efforts have been made to reduce, re-use and recycle valuable resources that would otherwise be buried in landfill.

“This useful report highlights the potentially significant contribution of waste to our heat and electricity needs. Electricity only generation is, however, generally wasteful due to the loss of heat to the atmosphere so care must be taken to ensure we get the maximum energy output from waste by utilising heat wherever possible.”

Professor Jan Bebbington, Vice Chair of Sustainable Development Commission Scotland, which compiled the report, adds: “Strong performance in waste minimisation and recycling can go hand in hand with the use of energy from waste as part of an integrated strategy. This SDC Scotland report shows what the potential is and helps the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste aspiration move forward. We believe the potential for energy from waste can be developed as part of creating low carbon communities across Scotland.”

Scottish Government targets are to meet 50% of electricity demand from renewable sources and 11% of heat from renewable sources by 2020.

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