Chance To Convert Waste Into Energy On Isle of Skye

Residents in Skye and Lochalsh could see their waste converted to energy if Council plans to develop the first Highland small Energy from Waste (EfW) plant in Portree go ahead.  The energy produced from the plant would be harnessed into a district heating system to supply up to 150 local homes and premises.

Members of the TEC Services committee heard that 70 council houses plus 4 council operated premises and one school have been identified as being suitable to form a district heating network that would require 80% of the proposed EfW plant’s output.

The potential site for the small plant is the former landfill site at Portree. Since this site closed in March 2007, residual waste collected in Skye and Lochalsh has been transported by road to a site near Falkirk. Last year approximately 8,500 tonnes was transferred by this method, making it one of the highest disposal costs in Scotland.
The Committee unanimously agreed that specialist consultants now be appointed to advise officers on all technical and relevant matters associated with the construction and operation of an EfW treatment facility and district heating system and that a detailed consultation be carried out with the local community on the proposals.

Chairman of TEC Services, Councillor John Laing said:  “Such a plant would be a first for the Highlands and could be used as a proto-type to be rolled out to other areas. There are potentially enormous benefits to the Council in terms of energy ratings in the properties and in the running costs.  Not only would a plant greatly reduce our transportation of waste costs, but by replacing fossil fuel heating we can cut down on our carbon output.

“We want to not only consult widely with people living in the area but get the community to really participate in what is a unique and exciting opportunity which could put Skye and Lochalsh to the fore and will help us to reach the challenging targets to increase our recycling rate and reduce the amount of our waste going to landfill set by the Scottish Government.

The Scottish Government has set a target that by 2010 no more than 56% of a local authority’s waste should be going to landfill.  This figure by 2025 should have dropped to just 5% with the majority of waste by then being recycled and the remainder treated to provide energy.

25 Sep 2008