WORK on a new £210 million Energy from Waste plant that will prevent the equivalent of a fifth of Scotland’s total annual landfilled from going underground each year is under way after financial close was announced by its partners.

The project in Grangemouth was launched by Edinburgh-based Brockwell Energy, which funded and led the development over the past three years, and the Green Investment Group (GIG), also rooted in the Scottish capital, and is described as having "unparalleled environmental credentials".

Earls Gate Energy Centre (EGEC) is the first investment in Scotland for GIG (formerly the Green Investment Bank) since it was privatised by Macquarie last year.

Brockwell will retain 50 per cent of EGEC while GIG together with its co-investor Covanta Energy will acquire the other 50% of EGEC though a jointly owned vehicle.

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The move will "future-proof full time local jobs", said Alex Lambie, Brockwell Energy's chief executive.

It is claimed the heat and power generated will make it one of the most efficient EfW plants in the UK.

The EGEC facility will prevent 216,000 tonnes of household and commercial waste going to landfill each year - about a fifth of the country's annual total - and provide low-carbon heat and power to four local industries.

The remaining electricity will be exported to the grid.

Mr Lambie said: "The success of EGEC reflects the skills and dedication of the Brockwell and GIG teams and delivers a new world-class renewable CHP (combined heat and power) facility to support the site.

"This is the first of a number of EfW projects that we will build over the next three years.

"As one of the most efficient plants in the UK, EGEC has unparalleled environmental credentials.

"The use of heat and power on-site will future-proof full-time local jobs."

He added: "It will also create roles during construction, including a range of professional, skilled and entry-level positions and apprenticeships."

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Brockwell also aims to deliver community benefits focused on employment and training, support for local businesses and education programmes, it said.

HeraldScotland:

Edward Northam, head of GIG Europe, above, said that 2017 saw Scotland recycle more waste than it sent to landfill.

He said that is "a fantastic achievement, but there remains a lack of capacity to unlock the value to businesses and households from converting residual waste into low-carbon energy".

He added: "The Earls Gate facility will play a major role in changing that.

"GIG is very proud of its Scottish roots and base in Edinburgh.

"Earls Gate is our nineteenth investment in Scotland and we’re delighted it will further support the decarbonisation of the Scottish economy."

Neil Partlett, chief executive of CalaChem, the chemical manufacturer and site utility service provider, said: "CalaChem has been a part of Grangemouth industry for almost 100 years.

"In addition to improved environmental performance and operational reliability, EGEC will enhance CalaChem’s international competitiveness by controlling overall energy costs."

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The heat and power plant will use mixed household, commercial and industrial waste from the Central Belt that would otherwise enter landfills every year.

Matthew Mulcahy, of Covanta, said: "Today marks a significant milestone in our valued partnership with GIG, as Earls Gate represents the first of our four advanced UK development projects to reach financial close.

"The project is well-structured with long-term contracts on both waste and energy and will provide critical sustainable waste disposal capacity in Scotland.

"It will also greatly benefit the local economy by supplying neighbouring industry with reliable, low-carbon heat and power."

HeraldScotland:

GIG was launched by the UK Government as GIB in 2012 to boost the green economy and sold last year to Australian bank Macquarie for a reported £2 billion.

EGEC, as GIG’s nineteenth Scottish project, follows a range of investments supporting sustainable economic growth in Scotland.

It says that by preventing volumes of waste equivalent to around 20% of Scotland’s total annual landfilled household waste from going to landfill, the facility will make a significant contribution to the local authority’s ability to achieve the goals of Scotland’s biodegradable municipal waste landfill ban, which is due to come into effect on January 2021.

Brockwell moved to "myth-bust" that "Scotland has too many incinerators", adding: "Although there are a number of EfW plants consented in Scotland, very few of these are expected to be built."

Permission to replace a gas-fired plant at Earls Gate was granted in January 2017.