More EPC contractors eye UK EfW builds - GIG

Construction firms are looking to the UK following Spain-based Acconia winning an EfW plant build deal earlier this week

The person overseeing waste and bioenergy investments for the Green Investment Group (GIG) has said further engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors are eyeing the UK’s energy-from-waste plant market.

GIG senior vice president for waste and bioenergy, Matt Edgar, said "other people were looking to come into the market" following a consortium led by Spain-based building firm Acciona winning preferred-bidder status on an Aberdeen-based EfW build this week.

He said: "The fact of the matter is it’s a value question, EPC prices in the last five years are showing it’s the right route, is that changing? I’m not sure. We’d like to see more contractors in the UK market."

Edgar, who was speaking at the Energy From Waste conference in London yesterday, also said investors needed to "share the risk where we can" with EPC contractors.

He further explained that previously "German and Spanish contractors were not willing to build EfW plants under EPC deals [in the UK] because they don’t want to work with technology they don’t understand".

Speaking at the same conference, Tolvik Consulting director, Adrian Judge, said challenges around recent UK-based EPC contracts were due to government interventions.

He explained: "PFI contracts are rigid with bells and whistles that put risk on the EPC contractor, without any benefits.

"The ROC (Renewable Obligation Certificate) regime has been responsible for encouraging development of alternative plants... but we have a cliff edge at the end of the ROC regime, with developers thinking they could get in touch before the deadline.

"However, the cliff edge was really steep, we want projects to finish on time, but it was too tight."

Also speaking on the same panel was Covanta executive director corporate development, Tom Koltis, who explained that the company was the EPC contractor, via a subsidiary, on a Dublin EfW build, but "we haven't done that since".

Koltis further explained issues with a previous EPC deals were down to companies selecting technologies such as gasification, which were a "risk, and the risk hasn’t worked out. Problems have either been around technology, or in relation to civils".

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