- The Environment Agency in England issued a permit for Covanta to construct a waste-to-energy facility in Bedfordshire, a county about 60 miles north of London. Covanta is partnering with Veolia to develop the Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility at a former brick clay extraction pit.
- The facility will have a yearly capacity of over 500,000 metric tons and be capable of producing around 60 MW of electricity, according to Covanta. Excess steam could be rerouted for local district heating projects, too.
- Work on the facility is set to begin later in 2018, following financial close, and Covanta expects the facility to be fully operational by 2021.
Covanta's joint venture with Veolia was first approved by Parliament in 2012, but community groups have pushed back since, according to the BBC. Residents remain concerned about air pollution and high traffic, but a special parliamentary committee gave the project the all-clear after hearing complaints. Covanta has discredited contamination fears and the permit calls for operational procedures that minimize pollution risk and operate within strict standards.
This is the first international project under Covanta's partnership with Macquarie to develop WTE facilities in the U.K. and Ireland. The company is waiting on permits for two WTE projects in partnership with Biffa and recently announced its Dublin plant was fully operational.
Domestically, the company is less likely to pursue new projects and instead focus on improving operations at existing ones. A proposed project in Puerto Rico is drawing some criticism and a proposed facility in upstate New York has received substantial community pushback. Neither one is a Covanta project, but both paint the picture of an unfriendly climate for new WTE projects in the U.S.
However, between an extended deal with a Pennsylvania county, the restart of the U.S. Mint's mutilated coin program, all its overseas projects and completed upgrades following a fire at the company's Fairfax, VA facility, Covanta remains poised to start 2018 strong.