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Incinerator to begin operations in autumn 2017


Construction at Poolbeg

Construction at Poolbeg

Construction at Poolbeg

The controversial Poolbeg incinerator will begin commercial operations in autumn next year.

In a briefing to Dublin City Councillors, to take place on Thursday, operator Covanta will reveal that testing began last month, with the first firing with waste expected to take place in March, followed by commercial operations beginning next autumn.

The company will insist that the plant is needed because treatment capacity is not in place to treat waste generated across the country.

In a report to councillors, the company says capacity is at "critically low" levels, with just five landfills across the country. Some 560,000 tonnes of waste were exported for incineration last year.


"Even with a recycling rate predicted at 50pc by 2020, there will remain a need to treat up to 1.6 million tonnes of residual waste annually," the presentation says.

It adds that "extensive" commissioning reports will be sent to the Environmental Protection Agency, and that these will be publicly available.

The plant has the capacity to treat 600,000 tonnes of waste a year, and some 540,000 has been contracted to date, on contracts averaging nine years.

The major contractors include PandaGreen, Thorntons, Oxigen, AES and KeyWaste, and 75pc of treated waste will be generated in the four Dublin local authority areas.

At 52 metres high, the Dublin Waste to Energy Plant is higher than the Lansdowne Road stadium. Expected to cost €500m, it was the subject of bitter local opposition and controversy over the €100m-plus spend on land acquisition and consultancy by the city council.