UK waste-to-energy facility achieves financial close

By Covanta Holding Corp., Biffa plc and Macquarie’s Green Investment Group | February 11, 2020

Joint venture partners Covanta Holding Corp., Biffa plc and Macquarie’s Green Investment Group announced Feb. 11 that the Newhurst Energy-from-Waste Facility in Leicestershire, England, has reached financial close. Covanta and GIG will together own 50 percent of the state-of-the-art facility, with Biffa, the primary waste supplier for the facility, owning the remaining half of the project. Covanta will operate the facility under a long-term operations and maintenance agreement.

“The Newhurst facility will provide important sustainable waste treatment capacity in the drive to move nonrecyclable waste away from landfills and combat climate change,” said Stephen J. Jones, Covanta CEO and president. “Today’s announcement marks our third of four initial development projects to reach financial close with Green Investment Group and our first project with Biffa. Together, we have created a powerful partnership that will provide meaningful returns in our pursuit to protect tomorrow.”

Michael Topham, CEO of Biffa, said, “Biffa has a leading role to play in developing the recycling and energy from waste facilities that the U.K. needs if it is to become a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy. Reaching this milestone at the Newhurst facility, along with our ambitious investments in recycling, are vital steps in the delivery of our strategic investment plans. We look forward to working with our partners to further reduce the U.K.’s reliance on landfill or export for managing its nonrecyclable waste.”

Strategically located just off the M1 motorway in the East Midlands, the Newhurst EfW facility is a significant addition to the U.K.’s waste management infrastructure. It supports the government’s drive to both reduce reliance on landfill and the U.K.’s ability to treat more nonrecyclable waste without relying on export to European facilities. The facility will use proven technology to provide up to 350,000 metric tons of annual treatment capacity for nonrecyclable waste and will also generate up to 42 megawatts of electricity, enough to power around 80,000 homes.

“To increase resource efficiency, we need the right infrastructure,” said Edward Northam, head of Green Investment Group Europe. “Together, GIG and Covanta are developing a pipeline of projects that will form the backbone of the U.K.’s next-generation waste management system. Our ongoing partnership with Covanta is helping the U.K. reduce reliance on landfill for nonrecyclable waste, creating a cleaner, greener environment for all. The Newhurst facility is an exciting new addition to that partnership and our first project investing alongside Biffa.”

Construction of the facility is expected to take approximately 39 months to complete and will be led by Hitachi Zosen Innova, a global leader in EfW engineering and construction under a turnkey engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract. More than 300 jobs will be created during the construction period, providing related benefits to the local economy. Many opportunities will also be created for the local supply chain with a commitment from the project to purchase goods and services from nearby companies wherever possible.

The project combines Biffa’s expertise and scale in waste management and control of significant feedstocks with Covanta and GIG’s operational and development experience in EfW. Biffa will provide 70 percent of the fuel for the facility from its existing local waste collection services, and Covanta will supply technical oversight during construction in addition to operations and maintenance of the facility for an initial 20-year term.