The biggest lie of the South London Incinerator is that it will provide safe, green, renewable energy. This simply isn’t true. It is very unlikely the heat will ever be used and if it is, it will be more expensive and environmentally damaging than conventional heat sources.
Per KW of energy Waste incinerators produce more CO2 than a conventional fossil fuelled power station. They are an incredibly inefficient way of producing energy due to the variable fuel stock that goes in (anything from car parts to food waste) and the heat they produce is simply too expensive to be worthwhile using.
Don’t take our word for it.
Viridor, the company building the incinerator (also known as a Combined Heat and Power Plant, an Energy Recovery Facility or Energy From Waste Plant), admit in the planning application that no heat will be used for at least the first several years.
It is so unlikely any heat will be utilised they even used this fact as a legal argument in the Judicial Review for not having done an Environmental Assessment for the heat pipes outside the site.
Even though Viridor claim the Felnex redevelopment will take the waste heat, according to Savills (who were the development manager for Felnex ) “no decision has yet been taken to commit to this.”
In other words Viridor have NOT secured an end user for the heat, which means even if they are able to supply it, there is no one who wants it.
To get around this Viridor are offering £50,000 towards setting up Combined Heat & Power working group to find an end user, Sutton Council have set up a private company to promote the use of the waste heat and the Government are funding a PR manager to spin the whole thing in to looking like a good idea.
Sutton council want to build a number of incinerators on Beddington Lane where the heat produced will be part of a district heating network.
This Which report on district heating shows from the consumer’s perspective what the problems are : “district heating customers have no opportunity to switch suppliers or right to redress should the service fail to meet expectations.”
The response to this report from consumers backs it up; with one user being charged £25 a month before they’d even used any heating or hot water.
The Evening Standard has also done an article on the high costs and low satisfaction with district heating.
Read this article for more on why investing in energy from waste is economically and environmentally costly.