It is only 27 months since the ground was broken at the site in Millerhill and over this time construction of the new state-of-the-art energy-from-waste plant, which will serve the City of Edinburgh and Midlothian, has reached an advanced stage.
The Millerhill Recycling and Energy Recovery Centre (RERC) is being developed by FCC Environment (UK), which signed a 25-year contract to deliver and operate the £142m plant in October 2016.
Waste has been received since October 2018 and treatment trials have been underway since early November.
A further significant milestone was achieved in December 2018 with the generation of energy from the plant’s 13 MW turbine commencing.
Environment leaders from the City of Edinburgh and Midlothian Councils visited the site last week, to see the progress for themselves.
Midlothian Council’s Cabinet Member for Zero Waste, Councillor Russell Imrie, said: “It’s exciting to see this partnership project coming to fruition and already generating green energy. The plant will be a huge asset, helping both councils meet Zero Waste targets and diverting an astonishing 155,000 tonnes of waste from landfill.”
The build, which was scheduled to take 30 months, is on a brownfield site which is now barely recognisable as the former Millerhill Marshalling Yard and is ahead of programme. The main building is now with complete commissioning activities well advanced ahead of the final testing required before the plant enters full operation.
In full operation the plant will treat around 135,000 tonnes of household residual waste and a further 20,000 tonnes of commercial waste every year. It will generate sufficient electricity to satisfy the energy demands of up to approximately 32,000 households. In conjunction with the partner councils district heating proposals are being developed to take full advantage of the benefits arising from the energy-from-waste process.
A separate facility, which takes all of the food waste collected by the partner councils, is already in operation on the neighbouring site to the RERC. It is hoped these new facilities to treat both food and non-recyclable waste, creating renewable energy in the process, will help both authorities contribute to the national recycling target of 70% by 2025 and the national landfill diversion target of 95 per cent by 2025.