Waste to energy - environmentally friendly AND profitable?


Energy Forum, January 2015, Poland

That was the question asked of panellists at one of the many panel discussions during this year’s Energy Forum, which took place in Karpacz, Poland.

The annual event is a prime opportunity to share opinions and expertise on energy use. Over 400 representatives from various parts of the Polish energy sector were present.

Green Business Norway was in attendance, representing its member businesses and promoting the potential of waste-to-energy projects. Anna Larsson, GBN’s market director for Poland, took part in a panel discussing whether waste-to-energy projects make sound economic as well as environmental sense. This was an important and timely discussion, given that most waste in Poland still goes to landfill. Great progress in this area is expected in the near future, with an emerging market for modern, reliable solutions.

Market Director Poland, Anna Larsson
Market Director Poland, Anna Larsson
“Energy from residual waste – waste not suitable for recycling or composting – is a component of a modern, integrated, sustainable waste management system,” said Ms Larsson.

“Energy from waste is an environmentally friendly solution, both from a waste management perspective and as an alternative to conventional sources of energy generation. Landfill is no longer an acceptable waste management option, and energy generated using fossil fuels results in higher emissions than energy from waste.”

Capacity and location are critical to the economic viability of waste-to-energy projects. It is important to take long-term EU targets into account during the planning process, Ms Larsson stressed.

“Energy recovered from waste should benefit the local community, in keeping with the proximity principle. Small-scale waste-to-energy plants should therefore be considered.”

The panel moderator, Magdalena Rogulska, concluded the discussion by calling for a political strategy that creates the conditions for optimum use of waste. The number one task is to define who should be responsible for developing a sustainable, environmentally friendly waste management system in Poland.

This year’s event was the ninth Energy Forum to be held in Poland.