New partnership to develop Black Country energy plant

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A new partnership has been launched to develop a controversial waste-to-energy plant in the Black Country.

London-based investor and asset manager Low Carbon has teamed up with specialist developer Verus Energy and waste conversion firm Wheelabrator Technologies to develop, construct and operate the Kelvin Energy Recovery Facility.

The project, near junction one of the M5 in West Bromwich, was previously thrown out by Sandwell Council planners amid concerns over the safety of residents due to the increase in traffic using the plant alongside air quality and noise pollution.

But this was overturned by the Planning Inspector last October.

The developers say the facility in Kelvin Way will divert 395,000 tonnes of non-recyclable household and business waste from landfill or export and instead use it to generate enough renewable energy to support 70,000 homes.

Low Carbon’s investment director Dominic Noel-Johnson said: “This announcement marks another significant milestone in the story of this project and we’re delighted to now be working together towards financial close.

“This facility will harness non-recyclable waste as a sustainable energy resource, creating local jobs and local energy supply for the West Midlands region.

“This is one of the many exciting projects Low Carbon have in their advanced pipeline for 2020 and we look forward to expanding our renewable energy at scale in the UK and internationally.”

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Wheelabrator Technologies’ UK managing director Julia Watsford added: “We’re excited to be joining this project and look forward to working with our partners and building upon Wheelabrator’s proven track record to address the UK’s ongoing capacity shortfall in residual waste management infrastructure.

“Providing an essential service such as the safe and reliable treatment of non-recyclable waste is even more critical during a crisis such as the covid-19 pandemic.

“We are committed to continuing operations throughout the pandemic to support the health and well-being of our communities, employees and partners.

“We are and will continue to take all necessary steps to protect our employees, our customers and the communities in which we operate.”

Verus Energy director Tim Jervis said: “The facility will provide the area with a state-of-the-art waste management facility with a significantly lower environmental impact than either landfilling or transporting waste to distant alternative disposal sites.

“We’re looking forward to seeing it progress.”

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