News & Events

Latest News

Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility reached a significant milestone in its commissioning activities when it achieved first fire as it processed waste for the first time. The event waste was supplied by Veolia and dropped into the Line 1 grate. 

Further to our communication on 7th May, we wanted to provide an update on the steam purging activities currently taking place at the Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility.

Though good progress continues to be made, these activities have not yet been fully completed. As we noted previously, the nature of commissioning can often mean activity durations are subject to change.

HZI expect to continue steam purging activities for a further two weeks, ending on or around 18th June.

If you have any questions on these plant commissioning activities, please contact us at www.rookerysouth.co.uk/contact-us or call HZI's Site Manager, Chris Barbour, on 07950 387 124.

As Principal Contractor, Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) continue to progress with commissioning and testing activities at the Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility: the final step before the plant becomes fully
operational early next year. A team of experienced commissioning engineers are engaged in this important phase, which is also required by the Environment Agency (EA) under the terms of the project’s Environmental Permit.

The next key step in the commissioning process is to clean the inside of the boiler tubes and pipework using pressurised steam produced by heat in the boilers. This activity is known as ‘steam purging’. During this time, residents living closest to the site may hear a noise similar to rushing air. A silencer is fitted to minimise the noise as much as possible. A plume of water vapour will also be visible as the steam condenses in the cooler air outside the facility.

Steam purging is planned to take place throughout May 2021. The nature of testing and commissioning means the scheduling of activities is subject to change and it is possible that some steam purging may run into early June 2021.

To minimise any potential for inconvenience, steam purging will take place between the hours of 09.00 and 17.00, Monday to Saturday, and not at all on a Sunday.

Though the potential for odour to be generated was highest during the initial heating of the boilers, it is possible that further odour could occur as the boilers are heated to produce the steam required for steam purging. HZI will continue to make use of temporary activated carbon filters through which building air will be drawn to reduce any odours that may be generated within the boiler hall.

We once again offer our sincere apologies for any disturbance, odours or nuisance caused, please be assured that any odours are non-hazardous and will be of short duration.

If you have any comments or questions in relation to these forthcoming activities please contact us via the Contact Us pages at www.rookerysouth.co.uk/contact-us or by calling the HZI Site Manager (Chris Barbour) on 07950 387 124.

As part of the commissioning programme for the Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility, the project’s Principal Contractor, Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) are preparing to warm-up the third boiler.

This was programmed to take place on Wednesday 28th April. However, HZI have not yet completed their preparatory works and as a result the third boiler warm-up will now take place on Thursday 29th April 2021.

A letter from Rookery South Limited and Hitachi Zosen Inova:

Dear Sir / Madam / Householder.

Further to the letter we sent last month, we wanted to provide you with an update on the construction of the Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility, which is now at an advanced stage. As Principal Contractor, Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) have commenced the process of commissioning and testing the new facility, which is the final step before the plant becomes fully operational early next year. A team of experienced commissioning engineers are engaged in this important phase, which is also required by the Environment Agency (EA) under the terms of the project’s Environmental Permit.

To reiterate the points in our March letter, some of the steps involved in the commissioning process are likely to result in activities which could be seen or heard by near neighbours and the local community outside the site boundary during April and May 2021. The nature of commissioning is that it is a one-off phase of the project, so it is important to note that many of the activities that may be seen or heard during commissioning are not typical of the normal operationing conditions of the facility.

As referenced in the March letter, one of the early steps in the commissioning phase will be to warm-up the facility’s three boilers using fuel oil. However, we overlooked to mention that as the boilers warm up, the binding agent in the insulation, which wraps around the boilers to improve efficiency, evaporates in high temperatures. This binder is made from a non-hazardous substance of organic plant material (a key component of which is glucose, a sugar) that produces a distinct odour which is normally released from the plant by opening up vents in the roof.

During the heating up of the second boiler on the 15th April, the wind direction blew an odour towards areas where it could clearly be smelt by some local residents. We sincerely apologise for this nuisance odour and for not warning our neighbours of the potential for this. Since the issue occurred we have been working with the Environment Agency to provide information on the non-hazardous nature of the odour and to mitigate this happening again when the third and final boiler is heat tested on 29th of April.

It is possible that the odour could be detected for a final time when the three boilers reach their maximum internal temperatures. If this occurs, this is likely to be when the facility first processes waste at full capacity and will be limited to a short duration. Once these maximum temperatures are reached, the evaporation process of the binder (organic plant material) is complete and the odour does not reoccur.

Measures being taken to mitigate this include:
• Closing of all roof vents to contain any odours within the building.
• Installation of temporary activated carbon filters through which the air will be drawn in order to further reduce any odours.
• Slowing down the heating up process to reduce the intensity of any odours.

If you have any comments or questions in relation to these forthcoming activities please do so via the project website at www.rookerysouth.co.uk/contact us, or by calling HZI’s Site Manager (Chris Barbour) on 07950 387 124.

Lastly, can we once again offer our sincere apologies for any disturbance, odours or nuisance caused. Please be assured that any odours are non-hazardous and will be of short duration.

A statement from Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI):

HZI’s Site Manager, Chris Barbour, said: "With external construction works largely completed, the principal contractor, HZI, has begun commissioning activities at the facility. In advance of this, the site teams began updating near neighbours and local communities about the commissioning processes in January, and we’ll continue to keep people informed of progress.

"Hot commissioning can create initial short-term odours for approximately one day when each of the three boiler lines are firstly heated up as part of the process to clean them. This is much like the first use of a new domestic heater or boiler.

“The first line was started up on 1st April, the second on 15th April and the third will take place soon. It’s important to highlight that these odours will not be a feature of normal plant operations. They are short-term and are not harmful to people or the environment. As part of our commissioning responsibilities, we have proactively made the local planning authority and the Environment Agency aware of these activities.

"On behalf of the Rookery South project team, can I apologise to anyone affected by these temporary odours."

Since 2018, the Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility, a consortium of Covanta, Green Investment Group and Veolia, has proudly supported Bedford's SMART Prebend Centre.  

With 2020 being dominated by COVID-19 pandemic and with its terrible knock-on effects, support for the most vulnerable in our community has never been more important.

The Rookery South Project Team are pleased to again donate £5,000 to the SMART Prebend Centre, which will help its staff and volunteers continue their vital outreach work in Bedford.

Ian Morrish, General Manager for the Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility, said: “For the third year, the Rookery South team is proud to support the Bedford’s SMART Prebend Centre.

“Their vital work provides a safety net for those who, for different reasons, have lost their livelihoods, homes and sadly find themselves on the streets. We hope this donation will help SMART continue their essential work, which is all the more important as we all tackle COVID-19 and enter the winter months.”

Anita McCallum, Chief Executive Officer at SMART CJS, added: “Heartfelt thank you to the Rookery South team for thinking of those less fortunate in the community, once again, and for the third year running.

“This year, because of COVID-19 we have been able to look after our rough sleepers and homeless at a hotel in Bedford. It has proven to be the wrap-around care and support (through regular meals, bed, access to health care, etc) that has enabled several to get their lives back and be able to see a positive future.”

For more information about the work SMART CJS and Prebend Centre carry out, please click here: https://smartcjs.org.uk/smart-cjs-news-bulletin-september-october/

With construction work progressing on-schedule at the Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility, Covanta has begun to recruit for a range of new operational roles at the former clay quarry site near Stewartby in Bedfordshire.

Over the three-year build phase, the project has created hundreds of construction jobs and supply chain opportunities. Now, under the project’s Local Employment Plan, Covanta is starting the phased recruitment that will create over 50 new permanent operational roles.

When the new Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility begins commercial operations in 2022, it will process over 545,000 tonnes of residual waste (waste that cannot be sensibly recycled or composted) into electricity that will power homes and businesses. Importantly, the new facility will help move the UK away from landfilling waste – the least environmentally sustainable option.

At this time, Covanta is recruiting for fifteen new positions as Shift Plant Operators and Assistant Shift Plant Operators. To enable potential candidates from across Bedfordshire and other neighbouring communities, Covanta is running a series of adverts in local newspapers to source the best candidates from the local area wherever possible.

Ian Judd, Rookery South Facility Manager, explained more: “We are launching a recruitment campaign to fill a range of new operational and maintenance roles. This is an exciting time as we start to grow the Rookery South’s operations and maintenance team.

“We have five Shift Plant Operators and ten Assistant Plant Operator roles currently available and we are committed to sourcing locally wherever possible. We’re working with Bedfordshire’s local authorities and Jobcentre Plus to promote these excellent opportunities to local people with the right skills. Further roles at Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility will be advertised in the coming months.

If these vacancies are of interest to you, please visit the project website, www.rookerysouth.co.uk, to find out more. We look forward to hearing from candidates at the earliest opportunity.”

Rookery South Fact File:

  1. The Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility is currently being built on a former clay quarry site on the outskirts of Stewartby.
  2. The Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility will process over 545,000 tonnes of solid waste that cannot be sensibly recycled, helping to move the UK away from landfilling non-recyclable waste.
  3. The facility will also help to reverse the UK trend of exporting non-recyclable waste to EfW plants in other countries, enabling the UK to become self-sufficient in managing its own waste and achieve compliance with landfill diversion targets.
  4. The facility will use municipal, commercial and non-hazardous industrial residual waste as fuel to generate over 60 megawatts of low carbon energy - enough electricity to power the equivalent of over 112,500 homes
  5. When the facility comes online in 2022, it will have created over 50 new permanent operational roles.

For more information on the project, visit www.rookerysouth.co.uk.

Hitachi Zosen Inova, principal contractor on the Rookery South project, has released a statement on COVID-19 and on-site enhanced safety measures. Click here to read the statement.

Click here to read a letter on continued construction activities from the Secretary of State Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

With winter weather beginning to bite, our thoughts turn to the most vulnerable in our community.

The partners developing the Rookery South Energy Recovery facility are proud to again support Bedford's SMART Prebend Centre's 2019 CRIB appeal.

Covanta, the Green Investment Group and Veolia have donated £5,000 to help the SMART Prebend Centre which will help its staff and volunteers continue their vital outreach work in Bedford.

“We appreciate the Rookery South team’s community donation and thank them for the generosity,” said Anita McCallum, Chief Executive Officer for SMART CJS. “This support is more important than ever in order to make essential repairs to the Prebend Centre.”

Bedford's SMART Prebend day centre is open every day of the year, supporting those who sleep rough, are vulnerably housed and often face issues around social isolation and exclusion. It’s funded entirely on charitable donations and grants and the support of the local community; it is a place of safety, meeting the basic needs of service users; providing food, warmth, water, a place to get clean and rest.

“Covanta, the Green Investment Group and Veolia are delighted to make this contribution to support the vital work of the SMART Prebend Centre,” said Tom Koltis, Covanta’s Executive Director of European Development. “We look forward to making further donations and supporting other important community causes and organizations in Bedfordshire for many years to come.”

Covanta is pleased with the Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold the UK Environment Agency’s issuance of the environmental permit for the Rookery South project.

We look forward to advancing construction on the Energy Recovery Facility, which represents critical waste infrastructure that will help the UK achieve national landfill diversion and meet the energy needs of over 112,500 homes.

To further support local businesses, Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) is organising a “Meet the Buyer Event” on Thursday 24th October at the Rufus Centre in Flitwick.

It is the project’s objective to hire local suppliers of goods and services wherever possible for various lots and work packages.

Date: Thursday, 24th October 2019

Start / Finish times: 08.00 to 16.00 

Venue: The Rufus Centre, Steppingley Road, Flitwick, Bedfordshire. MK45 1AH

To register to attend: Any company interested in participating can find a detailed list of the lots and work packages here. Registration for the event is also organised through the same page.

For more information: To find out more about these opportunities, please email HZI at rookery-project@hz-inova.com.

Covanta and Green Investment Group Reach Financial Close on the Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility

More than 300 jobs and many local supply chain opportunities to be created during the construction phase

LONDON – March 22, 2019 – Covanta Holding Corporation (NYSE: CVA) ("Covanta") and Green Investment Group Limited (“GIG”) today announced that the Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility (“Rookery”) in Bedfordshire, England has reached financial close and will commence construction. Covanta and GIG will each own 40 percent of the state-of-the-art facility, with primary waste supplier Veolia ES (UK) Limited (“Veolia”) owning the remaining 20 percent.

“We are pleased to have reached this key milestone on the Rookery project, which is a major component of our UK development plan and the second of four initial projects to move forward with GIG," said Covanta CEO and President Stephen J. Jones. “The Rookery project brings into full view the capabilities of our partnership with GIG and our commitment to the UK market, and we look forward to investing in the local community and serving the region with much-needed sustainable waste treatment. Rookery also marks the first project in the UK where we will assume an operating role and we are thrilled to contribute this core expertise to the project.”

“GIG and Covanta have an ambition to deliver a joint portfolio of world class waste management infrastructure that will reduce landfill, lower emissions, and transform two million tonnes of residual waste a year into heat and power for communities and industry across the UK. I’m delighted that we get one step closer to realising that ambition today,” said Ed Northam, Head of GIG Europe. “GIG’s mission is to accelerate the transition to a greener global economy, and I believe Rookery can play an important role in helping the UK meet its goal of maximising the value of our resources to create a cleaner, greener, healthier planet.”

The Rookery facility will provide 545,000 tonnes of annual treatment capacity for non-recyclable waste, further enabling the UK to achieve national self-sufficiency in managing waste and compliance with landfill diversion targets. Veolia will deliver the majority of Rookery’s waste supply under a long-term contract, with the balance of the waste sourced through other commercial, industrial and municipal counterparties. In processing this waste, Rookery will generate over 60 megawatts of electricity which will be sold into the grid on a merchant basis, powering the equivalent of over 112,500 homes.

“Veolia is excited to play its part in this major infrastructure project of which we have now delivered 10 in the UK. We are happy to have been able to share our expertise in technical design and construction, as well as waste supply and energy markets optimization, which have been integral to its success to date,” said Gavin Graveson, Executive Vice-President for Veolia UK & Ireland. “Rookery will provide much needed residual waste recovery capacity, the majority of which Veolia will be supplying from its local authority and commercial customers, to create energy for the grid from non-recyclable waste to reduce the need for landfill.”

Construction of the facility will be led by Hitachi Zosen Inova under a turnkey engineering, procurement and construction contract and is expected to take approximately 36 months to complete. Over 300 jobs will be created during the construction period providing related benefits to the local economy. Many opportunities will also be created for the local supply chain with a commitment from the project to purchase goods and services from local companies wherever possible. Covanta will provide technical oversight during construction and will supply operations and maintenance services when the project commences operations in 2022.

About Covanta

Covanta is a world leader in providing sustainable waste and energy solutions. Annually, Covanta’s modern Energy-from-Waste facilities safely convert approximately 22 million tons of waste from municipalities and businesses into clean, renewable electricity to power one million homes and recycle over 600,000 tons of metal. Through a vast network of treatment and recycling facilities, Covanta also provides comprehensive industrial material management services to companies seeking solutions to some of today’s most complex environmental challenges. For more information, visit covanta.com.

About Green Investment Group and Macquarie Group

GIG is a specialist in green infrastructure principal investment, project delivery and the management of portfolio assets, and related services. Its track record, expertise and capability make it a global leader in green investment, dedicated to supporting the growth of the global green economy. The business was launched initially by the UK Government in 2012 as the first institution of its type in the world. The organisation was acquired by a consortium led by Macquarie Group in 2017, creating one of Europe’s largest teams of dedicated green infrastructure investors, and now operates under the name Green Investment Group.

Macquarie Group Limited (Macquarie) is a diversified financial group providing clients with asset management and finance, banking, advisory and risk and capital solutions across debt, equity and commodities. Founded in 1969, Macquarie employs 14,469 people in over 25 countries. At 31 March 2018, Macquarie had assets under management of £309.9 billion. For more information, visit www.greeninvestmentgroup.com and www.macquarie.com.

About Veolia

Veolia group is the global leader in optimized resource management. With nearly 169 000 employees worldwide, the Group designs and provides water, waste and energy management solutions that contribute to the sustainable development of communities and industries. Through its three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and to replenish them. In 2017, the Veolia group supplied 96 million people with drinking water and 62 million people with wastewater service, produced nearly 55 million megawatt hours of energy and converted 47 million metric tons of waste into new materials and energy. Veolia Environnement (listed on Paris Euronext: VIE) recorded consolidated revenue of €25.12 billion in 2017(USD 30.1 billion). www.veolia.com.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements in this press release may constitute "forward-looking" statements as defined in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 (the "Securities Act"), Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act"), the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the "PSLRA") or in releases made by the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), all as may be amended from time to time. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Covanta Holding Corporation, its subsidiaries and joint ventures or industry results, to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Statements that are not historical fact are forward-looking statements. For additional information see the Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements in the Company's 10-K, previously filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Covanta Media Contact

James Regan

1.862.345.5216

JRregan@covanta.com

GIG Media Contact

Lindsay Roberts 

+44 (0) 7920 212813 

Lindsay.Roberts@greeninvestmentgroup.com

Covanta Investor Contact

Dan Mannes

1.862.345.5456

IR@covanta.com

On 27 February procurement experts from Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) and Covanta attended the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce’s Meet the Buyer event held at Putteridge Bury.

The well organised event was a great opportunity for local businesses to come and meet the procurement leads, discover more about the Rookery South project and the many supply chain needs the scheme will require during the construction and operational phases.

Covanta

(L-R Greg Lopez, HZI Project Procurement Manager, Justin Richardson, CEO of the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce and Jack Stitt, Deputy Project Manager on Rookery South)

Covanta and HZI are grateful to the Chamber of Commerce for inviting the companies to attend. We look forward to participating in future events and increase the number of Bedfordshire-based businesses that are involved in the Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility.

Tom Koltis, Covanta's Executive Director for the UK and Europe, said:

“We remain confident in the Environment Agency's position that the challenge to their well-founded permit application and evaluation processes is without merit, as was confirmed by the High Court ruling in November 2018.

"Therefore, we're pursuing options to proceed to financial close and commence construction of this much-needed infrastructure project prior to the end of the appeals process.

"We are committed to being a good neighbour and we'll continue to source local construction suppliers wherever possible to maximise the economic advantages for Bedfordshire's residents and businesses."

In response to the recent article from The Guardian, Covanta wants to make clear that our facility in Chester, PA operates in a manner that is protective of human health and the environment. Read more of our response here.

Covanta and its Engineering, Procurement and Constructions contractors, Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI), are pleased to update local communities and road users that the improvement are now completed on-time and on-schedule.

The completed works include a widened section of Green Lane and the installation of a ‘ghost island.’ The new island will make this section of road safer in the future for through traffic and construction vehicles turning right into the Rookery South site. For local communities and all road users, it will also ensure that disruption for through traffic to Stewartby village and/or the railway station is minimised.

On behalf of the Covanta, HZI and the wider Rookery South Project teams, we thank all road users for their co-operation and patience whilst the improvements works were carried out.

As the cold weather tightens its grip this winter, homeless people are among the most vulnerable in society. With Bedford having some of the highest levels of homelessness in the UK today, Covanta chose to make a £5,000 Christmas donation to support Bedford's SMART Prebend Centre's 2018 Christmas Relief In Bedford (CRIB) appeal, which will help the organisation continue its outreach work in supporting those in need. 

Covanta is proud to make this contribution to Bedfordshire and will continue to make further donations and community funding available for many years to come. 

Read the letter from SMART Prebend Centre on Covanta's donation here.

Improvement Works on Green Lane in Stewartby from Monday 7 January through to Sunday 17 February 2019 (inclusive).

For more information, download the document below to learn about upcoming road closures needed to carry out improvement works on Green Lane.

Download Document

Covanta is pleased with the court’s decision to uphold the UK Environment Agency’s issuance of the environmental permit for the Rookery project. Energy-from-Waste (EfW) facilities like the Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility, are critical in helping the UK achieve national landfill diversion and renewable energy targets. EfW facilities are proven to be safe and widely regarded as the best solution for the treatment of waste that cannot be recycled.

We are committed to being a good neighbour and look forward to building a strong, transparent relationship with the Bedfordshire community. We will provide further updates on the timing of financial close and the commencement of full construction in the near future.

Court Decision Documents

Approved Judgement

Appeal Denial Decision

At the invitation of Bedford Borough Council, Tom Koltis, Covanta’s executive director of European De­velopment and representatives from the Environment Agency, attended a meeting of the Council’s En­vironment and Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee in June at Stewartby Village Hall. The meeting, which was open to the public, provided council members and local residents the opportunity to pose questions on the Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) directly to Covanta. To read Covanta’s full responses to questions posed by the committee click here.

Additional questions from members of the public have also been added to the Frequently Asked Questions section here on the website.

Issuance of the permit follows a detailed review and consultation process by the Environment Agency (EA). For more information, download the EA's fact sheet at the link below or visit this EA webpage to view the permit and decision document.

Download Fact Sheet

GIG is a specialist in green infrastructure principal investment, project delivery and the management of portfolio assets, and related services.

Read More

Media Contact

David Spencer

dspencer@covanta.com

+44 (0)7506 208 555