In Wales, there are 15 Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants, of which 10 were completed in the past 3 years. 5 food waste plants currently exist; although a further 10 plants are in the developmental process. 2 of the existing plants process “other waste” (abattoir waste, and the organic fraction of municipal solid and commercial and industrial wastes). The remaining 8 AD plants are farm fed.
The AD industry in the UK as a whole has expanded very quickly over the last 3 years with much of the increase coming from energy crops. With introduction of sustainability criteria and the severe reduction in the support via the Feed-in-Tariff and Renewable Heat Incentive the growth in the number of plants has slowed drastically.
During 2016 Severn Wye Energy Agency has been working towards the development of a new farm waste based industry in Wales that recognises a much wider set of benefits to the farmer and nation than just the production of renewable energy:
- Brought together the key stakeholders and produced an Intervention Strategy for Wales that has been submitted to the Welsh Government
- Engaged with LEADER groups and environmental NGO’s to explore opportunities for AD in Wales to tackle a series of problems and opportunities
- Engaged with the Welsh Government (Economic Development) and local biogas entrepreneurs to develop new appropriately priced standardised AD installations
- Talking and working with farmers to seek solutions for their individual circumstances
- Developing a business plan for a specific opportunity in north Wales – in conjunction with a local authority and LEADER group.
- Providing presentations to national conferences organised by the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association in order to promote the concept of waste based systems for the individual farm.