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    Dublin Waste to Energy Project, Dublin Bay


Q: What is Waste to Energy?

A: Waste to Energy (WtE), is a process that uses household waste (i.e. municipal solid waste also known as MSW), and commercial waste with similar properties, as fuel in a modern largely renewable electricity generation facility. The waste is delivered to combustion chambers where it is combusted at high temperatures and reduced to 10 percent of its original volume. The heat generated from the combustion chambers heats up water in steel tubes that form the walls of the combustion chambers. The water is converted to steam and delivered to a turbine that continuously generates electricity, or is used to provide heat energy where industrial and domestic needs can be served.

The Poolbeg facility will be designed, built and operated by Covanta who has formed a special purpose company Dublin Waste to Energy Ltd (DWTEL) for the Project.


Q: What are the benefits of the Poolbeg plant?
A: The Poolbeg plant will divert up to 600,000 tonnes of waste that is currently going to landfills or being exported. It will generate electricity for at least 80,000 homes, and potentially district heating to the equivalent of another 50,000 homes. The energy produced will help Ireland meet its renewable energy targets. The fuel is indigenous, reducing Ireland’s dependence on imported fuel and it expands the energy market in Ireland, thereby increasing competition.


Q: How will the facility stimulate the local economy?
A: As a large scale development, the project will stimulate substantial economic activity for the local area, the wider Dublin Region and the country.  The project will generate economic benefit throughout the supply chain for both goods and services locally and throughout the wider region.

During the three year construction phase, the plant will employ an average workforce of 375, and there will be up to 100 jobs thereafter.


Q: How will traffic be controlled?
A: When the plant is operational, waste deliveries will be via the M50 and the Dublin Port Tunnel, except for waste arising from the central area, as defined in the Environmental Impact Statement. Fixed routes have been introduced to limit the impact of the plant on residential areas in the vicinity and along access routes to the development.


Q: How long until the plant is operational?
A: It is envisaged that the plant will be operational by the end of 2017.  It will take approximately three years after commencement of construction to commissioning of the plant.


Q: Who are Covanta?

A: Covanta is a US-based company which processes more waste into clean energy than any other company in the world, making it the world’s largest largest operator. It employs approx. 4,000 people.  In the United States it operates over 40 WtE plants as well as other waste management businesses such as biomass facilities, transfer stations and metals recycling facilities complementary to its core WtE business. The company’s operations also include two WtE plants in China and another in Italy. Its business model is to partner with local authorities under long-term relationships. Covanta has a wealth of experience and technical know-how in this specialised field, and has successfully built more than 20 large-scale plants of the kind being constructed at Poolbeg.


Q: How much waste will the Dublin Waste to Energy Facility process in a typical year?

A: The Facility has obtained all necessary statutory consents and has a design capacity to treat up to 600,000 tonnes per annum of non-hazardous municipal and industrial waste.


Q: Where will the waste that’s sent to the facility come from?

A: The waste will primarily come from the Dublin region and also from the newly formed Eastern and Midlands region in which the facility is located.


Q: Are the emissions safe?

A: The facility is licensed by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) and will be required to meet stringent emission requirements in line with any power plant of a similar scale. Air pollution control equipment will be provided that will allow improved performance over the emission requirements of the IED Licence. The Air Pollution Control system implements the very essence of Best Available Technology capable of going well below the present European Requirements.

Strict reporting requirements to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will ensure full transparency of the Poolbeg facility’s performance, and summaries of the plant’s emissions performance will be provided on the project website.


Q: What will happen with the residual waste?

A: Residues from the process will be transferred to an offsite processing plant for recovery of metals and production of aggregate materials, which may be used for various construction applications or to secure the voids of depleted salt mines.


Q: How does this plant compare with international best practice?

A: The DWtE facility design is based on state of the art conventional thermal treatment technology.


Q: What statutory processes have been completed to bring the facility to this stage?

A: The project required planning consent, a waste licence (now an Industrial Emission Directive Licence) and relevant approvals from the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER). Planning permission was granted by An Bord Pleanála on in November 2007. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) subsequently granted a Waste Licence for the facility in December 2008. The licences from the CER were granted in September 2009.


Q: What licensing procedures will be required once the plant is operational?

A:The facility will be required to operate in compliance with the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) licence issued by the EPA, the planning consent issued by An Bord Pleanála and the licence to generate issued by the CER.


Q: What communications channels has Dublin City Council put in place to liaise with the residents/community in the area?

A: From November 2015 the Local Information Project Office is in Ringsend Library, Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin 4 on Tuesday and Thursday mornings between 10:00 and 12:00. The Project Office can be contacted at dwte@dublincity.ie.


A Community Liaison Committee has been established to administer the Community Gain Fund and to liaise between Dublin City Council and the local community in relation to on-going monitoring of the operation of the DWtE facility. The Community Liaison Committee can be contacted at cglc@dublincity.ie.


Q: What is the Community Gain Fund?
A:  Since the inception of the Dublin Waste to Energy project Dublin City Council has indicated that a Community Gain Fund would be established in accordance with Government Policy to support facilities and services which would be of benefit to the community in the catchment area of the project (please click to see map). The Fund will be administered by the Community Liaison Committee and will consist of:

  • A capital contribution equivalent to 3% of the capital costs of the waste to energy facility. This contribution is estimated at €10m and will be made over the 3 year construction phase.
  • An annual contribution per tonne of waste accepted for thermal treatment. This contribution will be €1 per tonne from the first year following commissioning of the plant and thereafter will be updated in accordance with the consumer price index.


Q: How can I apply for a job in the Dublin Waste to Energy Plant?

A: Visit Covanta’s website at www.covanta.com/careers to apply to the open positions. If your desired position is not available at this time, we encourage you to create an applicant account and set up a job search agent. All applications are to be submitted online. Covanta is an Equal Opportunity Employer