Title: Announcement of Anaerobic Digestion Funding – High Level Policy Statement
Date: 12 February 2009
By: Jane Davidson, Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing

Today I announced £26 million of new funding for innovative technology which turns waste into biogas, a renewable source of energy.

The £26 million of funding has been provided by the Strategic Capital Investment Fund (SCIF), established to shape capital investment in Wales. This allocation of funding is conditional upon reaching the appropriate commercial and legal agreements needed to deliver these schemes.

This new money will go to local authorities across Wales to help them develop anaerobic digestion plants as an alternative to landfill. Anaerobic digestion speeds up the natural breakdown of waste from years to days by feeding it into oxygen-starved sealed tanks infested with microbes. The process produces gasses which can be used as a fuel to generate heat and electricity or provide fuel for vehicles.

The technology of anaerobic digestion will play a key part in how Wales deals with its waste and will also provide a new source of renewable energy. We cannot continue to throw waste such as food into the ground, simply to leave it rot and generate harmful greenhouse gases. Instead we can use this waste to generate renewable electricity and create fertiliser that can be used on our land.

EU targets mean we can’t continue to simply dump waste into landfill. This innovative technology will play a crucial part in reaching these targets and I am pleased to announce this new funding. It is a tried and tested technology in widespread use across Europe and beyond. I want to see Wales making the most of the opportunities before us.

We consider it feasible to separately collect some 600,000 tonnes of food waste each year from houses and businesses in Wales. Digesting this quantity of food waste in a network of anaerobic digestion plants would generate around 1 per cent of Wales’ electricity needs – 0.2 TWHrs. It will also help to generate investment opportunities and green jobs in Wales.

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