The growth of anaerobic digestion industry in Scotland

The growth of anaerobic digestion industry in Scotland

New figures released last week from the Anaerobic Digestion and Biosources Association (ADBA) show that Scotland’s anaerobic digestion industry has grown by 69% in the past year. In that time the number of instillations has increased from 16 to 27 with a further 43 currently with planning permission.

On top of that 12 more are currently in the advance stages of the planning process which if they were to go ahead would mean the sector would grow by more than 200% over the next 24 months.

The anaerobic digestion process uses organic material such as vegetable waste, paper and farm slurry which decomposes inside a sealed chamber to produce gas which in turn is used to generate electricity.

The increase in instillations throughout the country has led to less than half of Scotland’s household waste going to landfill in 2014 which the first year ever that this is below 50% showing that anaerobic digestion can help reduce the demand on landfill space.

Also the last year has seen dramatic increases in the amount of food waste collections in Scotland under the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 adding to amount of fuel available.

Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables, Stephanie Clark said “These new ADBA figures show that AD is being taken extremely seriously by Scottish businesses.

“Increasingly, waste has value. The AD process recognises that, and turns things we don’t want, like food waste and farmyard slurry, into something we desperately need – clean, affordable electricity.”

Chief Executive of ADBA Charlotte Morton added “Scotland is leading the way in demonstrating how anaerobic digestion extracts value from our waste, while supporting farming resilience, reducing billions in carbon abatement costs, improving food security and production and generating employment and investment opportunities for rural economies.

“We are particularly excited to see AD plants working in partnership with local authorities to collect residents’ food waste and to distribute in its place heat and electricity for local homes.

“Developments in Scotland are now being used to showcase the excellent return on investment that bill payers gain from the continued deployment of AD capacity. With a commitment from government to support the technology to scale – a commitment which currently does not exist – AD can deliver baseload energy that is cheaper than new nuclear by the time Hinkley Point C is built, and that can help decarbonise UK heat, farming and transport.”

Sticking with Scottish Renewables and the fifty finalists for the 14th Scottish Green Energy Awards were announced last week. Categories include Champion of Renewables, Best Photography, Best Supplier, Engineering Excellence, Business Growth, and Rising Star.

The Director-General of the CBI, an Orkney based business with world reknowned tidal and wave expertise and three community hydropower projects are all finalists in their respective categories for the respected awards.

John Cridland, the Director-General of the CBI, who throughout the year consistently highlighted the negative impact the UK Government’s policy changes on green subsidies will have has nominated in the Champions of Renewables category.

Orkney based wave and tidal energy developer Leask Marine, who worked on the removal of a tidal energy device from the seabed before returning it to its original state in what was claimed to be a world first is shortlisted in the Best Supplier category.

Community hydropower projects in Edinburgh, the Isle of Mull, and the Trossachs are all nominated in the Best Community Project category.

Also nominated is Scottish Water, the country’s largest energy consumer, for its efforts to use renewable energy. They have doubled their renewable energy capacity in the last two years and are nominated alongside a district heating project in Wick, a rural heating project in Abbey St Bathans in the Borders, and Mackies ice cream factory solar farm in the Renewing Scotland category..

Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables Niall Stuart said “2015 has been an incredibly difficult year for renewable energy, with a whole series of cuts by the Westminster Government. We should however remember that our industry is producing record levels of heat and power as we seek to lead the transformation in Scotland’s energy sector.

“This year’s finalists have all played a part in our industry’s success and show the many ways in which the growth of renewable energy is benefitting communities and businesses across the country.

“I would like to thank everyone who entered the awards, and I look forward to congratulating the worthy winners on December 3.”

One further company that has been nominated this year is ILI (Renewable Energy) to give us our full name. Along with Leask Marine, Urban Wind, and Green Marine we have been shortlisted in the Best Supplier Award.

Having started this journey six years ago we are delighted that our hard work and determination have been recognised in this manner. We started out as a small core team of specialists that grew as the sector and industry did over the following years. Our model was to package small to medium scale developments in waiting for developers with all the required permissions and leases needed in order to commence development.

Over this period we achieved eighty successful planning applications and although extreme grid restrictions meant that not all could be fully developed the majority were or are currently in the development phase.

So when we attend the awards ceremony next month we can look back at all we achieved, regardless of the outcome of the award, with pride and satisfaction. We would like to win though.


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