Waste-to-Energy – towards renewable energy targets

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Energy generated from waste is low hanging fruit in order to reach the Renewable Energy targets.

“Biomass is one of the most important resources for reaching our renewable energy targets.

It already contributes more than half of renewable energy consumption in the EU, providing a clean, secure and competitive energy resource”, said Günther Oettinger, Commissioner responsible for Energy.

Member States should take this into account when preparing their National Action Plans to meet the targets set in the Renewable Energy Sources Directive. These plans, to be submitted to the Commission by end of June 2010, should also consider waste as the biodegradable fraction of waste is biomass and so a renewable energy source. As a result, 50% of the energy generated from waste is renewable. Waste is a cost-effective and available energy source.

Energy generated from waste is low hanging fruit in order to reach the Renewable Energy targets.

“Waste offers a significant source of renewable energy: Incineration and other thermal processes for Waste-to-Energy, landfill gas recovery and utilisation, and use of anaerobic digester biogas can play important roles in reducing fossil fuel consumption and Greenhouse gas emissions”.

Waste-to-Energy (incineration with energy recovery) provides by far the largest quantity of renewable energy from waste. Waste-to-Energy plants in Europe supply a considerable amount of renewable energy, some 38 billion kilowatt-hours in 2006, and by 2020 this amount will grow to at least 67 billion kilowatt-hours, but potentially reach 98 billion kilowatthours with the right policy drivers in place. This will be, in the latter case, enough to supply 22.9 million inhabitants with renewable electricity and 12.1 million inhabitants with renewable heat.

The Netherlands (14.3 %), Belgium (13.3 %), Denmark (12.5 %), Germany (7.5 %). Also in Sweden and France Waste-to-Energy makes a considerable contribution, and has a substantial potential.

These figures should encourage other countries to focus on the enormous potential waste, and particularly Waste-to-Energy plants, can have for generating renewable energy.

For further information, please contact
Dr. Ella Stengler
CEWEP Managing Director

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