A leading international waste and recycling company, Shanks Group, has signed a Power Purchase Agreement with UK-based retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) to supply it with the renewable electricity generated from its anaerobic digester (AD) plant located in Cumbernauld, Glasgow. The plant is a joint venture with Energen Biogas.
Marks & Spencer (M&S) sends its food waste to an anaerobic digester plant having a capacity of 60,000 tonnes, where food waste gets converted to biogas, which is used to produce clean electricity, and the digestate that is produced is used as a nutrient-rich soil conditioner.
According to the new agreement, M&S will directly purchase electricity equivalent to 19,000 MWh produced from the AD plant every year. The generated electricity is enough to power about 33 M&S stores.
“Having advocated the use of AD technology since the launch of our sustainability programme, Plan A, back in 2007, we’re now seeing in practice how the plant at Cumbernauld is helping M&S to maintain two of our targets: to procure 100% renewable electricity and send zero waste to landfill,” said Giacinto Patellaro, head of energy supply & risk at M&S, in a statement to media.
Shanks Group has about one million tonnes of treatment capacity all over Europe and is strengthening its presence in organics. Apart from the Cumbernauld AD plant, which was commissioned in August last year, the company is also building a 48,000 tonne per year AD plant in Bicester and 90,000 tonne per year AD plant at its South Wales site in Pontypool, for which a planning application has already been submitted to Torfaen County Borough Council.
Earlier this year, M&S became UK’s first major retailer to go carbon neutral. The company said that it realised benefits of about £105 million in 2012 as a result of the sustainability measures. It recycles 100% of its waste and has managed to reduce its energy consumption by 28% while increasing the procurement of energy from renewable energy sources.
In 2010, the company announced a plan to invest £1.25 million over five years in a deal with Somerset County Council to fund a waste recycling initiative. This waste is recycled while the excess is sent to other packaging producers.
Image Credit: Shanks Group
The views presented in the above article are the author’s personal views only.
Mridul Chadha currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.