Firm offers to build incinerator 'for free'
A SECOND company has stepped in and offered to build the controversial Poolbeg incinerator at no cost to the taxpayer.
Waste firm Indaver yesterday said it was willing to spend €300m on building an incinerator if Dublin City Council agreed to its offer to replace the local authority's American partner in the project.
Indaver currently operates Ireland's only incinerator at Carranstown in Co Meath, which began accepting waste last September. It also has plans for another facility in Cork.
The move comes amid concerns that the US firm, Covanta, cannot raise the money needed to build the 600,000-tonne-capacity plant at Ringsend in Dublin because of a reluctance by banks to invest in Ireland.
Indaver's managing director John Ahern said yesterday: "We will build and operate a smaller facility and it will be self-financing, with no need to convince a bank.
"It will be run on a commercial basis and remove the risk to the taxpayer. Dublin City Council has a choice -- they can progress with Covanta, or with us. This project is needed. If Convanta can't build it, someone should."
Dublin City Council is managing the project on behalf of the four local authorities in the capital and has spent more than €80m so far, including €44m acquiring the site.
Under the existing agreement, Covanta and Dublin City Council have established a separate company called Dublin Waste to Energy Ltd, which would build the plant.
The project would be financed by Covanta's cash reserves and bank borrowings and the council would guarantee that 350,000 tonnes of waste would be treated every year.
But the global recession has meant securing money has been a problem. Now Indaver says it will fund a smaller 400,000-tonne plant from its own resources and will not require the council to guarantee that waste will be treated there.
However, the city council said that changing the terms of the deal would have financial implications, adding that it would not meet with Indaver.
A spokeswoman said: "Any discussions between Covanta and Indaver will not involve Dublin City Council or the other Dublin local authorities.
"The council and Covanta have both been free to walk away from the contract since September 2010, but not without significant financial implications for whoever executes the termination clause."
Covanta said it was "working very closely" with the council to overcome "outstanding issues".