FAQs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The following Frequently Asked Questions cover a range of topics related to the construction phase of the project.

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oldhall

About Oldhall Energy Recovery Facility

The Oldhall ERF will recover energy by processing around 186,500 tonnes per year of residual and commercial waste which would otherwise go to landfill or be exported to Europe for treatment. This residual waste will have already been sorted to remove valuable recyclables, such as glass, metal, plastic, paper and card.

The Oldhall Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) will recover energy safely and cleanly from waste to generate electricity which will be used by homes and businesses. It is a clean and safe way of treating waste that cannot economically or practically be recycled; it displaces the use of fossil fuel and it fills the gap left by the decommissioning of old coal-fired plants. Scotland hasn’t generated coal power since December 2021.

Once operational the facility will:

  • Generate at least 17MW of energy, enough to power the equivalent of over 30,000 homes which is greater than the demand of the residential population of Irvine.
  • Provide around 200 full-time jobs during construction and 28 new full-time jobs during operation.
  • Create opportunities for a wide range of local suppliers and supply chain companies.
  • Divert around 186,500 tonnes per year of residual waste which would otherwise go to landfill or be exported to Europe for treatment.
  • Make use of waste from the south-west of Scotland, reducing local HGV road miles
  • Have the potential to supply nearby commercial and industrial users with the surplus heat generated.
  • Residues from the combustion process (known as Incinerator Bottom Ash) can also be used to produce secondary aggregates in the production of concrete products.
  • The project will be regulated by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).
  • Contribute to Scotland and the UK’s drive to reduce CO2 emissions from electricity generation.

 

 

Yes. You can view the full details on the council’s website. The planning consent reference number is: N/20/00819/PPM.

 

Doveryard Limited developed the project. The facility is privately owned by funds manged by Octopus Renewables.

Octopus Renewables, part of Octopus Energy, is a specialist energy investor. It has a diverse portfolio of assets with a capacity of over 2.8GW, making it the largest commercial solar investor in Europe and a leading investor in onshore wind. In the UK it manages a portfolio of 197MWs of Biomass generation across 7 sites using a mixture of locally sourced feedstocks.

Construction Programme

The Oldhall Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) is being built by an EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contractor, STC Power, a leader in the delivery of renewables-fuelled power plants worldwide.

 

During the construction of the facility, we aim to source goods and services from local suppliers wherever possible. For more information on becoming a potential supplier, please visit our suppliers’ page.

 

Construction and demolition work will start in March 2022 and the plant is expected to be operational in 2025. Once the facility is built, STC will operate and maintain the facility.

Construction operations will generally take place between the following working hours:

  • 0700-1900 Monday to Friday
  • 0700-1600 Saturday and Sunday

The above is subject to change depending on working conditions, workload and special events or circumstances.

It is our aim to be a good neighbour, establishing good relationships with the community and local businesses. One of the key ways we will do this is via a Local Liaison Committee.

Jobs and Suppliers

Our intention is to maximise the use of local labour wherever possible and sensible to do so. We will try to recruit skilled people from the local area notwithstanding the specialist nature of some of the equipment and machinery utilised by the project.

If you are interested in a role during the construction of the Oldhall Energy Recovery Facility, please submit your CV via the form on our jobs page.

Once construction is complete there will be 28 new, permanent operational roles at the facility. These roles will be promoted and recruited locally by STC Power as the operator of the new facility and further details will be released at a later date.  It is currently anticipated that recruitment for these roles will commence in late 2023.

The number of workers on site will fluctuate over time but it is anticipated there will be around 200 people employed on the site at the peak of the construction phase. The types of jobs will range widely across different trades, with different skills being required at different times.

If you are interested in potential employment opportunities during the construction phase, please submit your CV via the form on our jobs page.

There will be multiple supply chain opportunities for local businesses throughout the construction phase. Many subcontractors will be required during the construction of the facility, ranging from canteen services to engineering and construction, office materials, transport services and accommodation.

In April 2022, we held a 'Meet the Buyer' event for local suppliers to meet our project teams and explore opportunities available throughout the project.

If you were unable to attend but are still interested in becoming a potential supplier, you can submit your company details via our suppliers' page.

In April 2022, we held a 'Meet the Buyer' event for local suppliers to meet our project teams and explore opportunities available throughout the project.

If you were unable to attend but are still interested in becoming a potential supplier, you can submit your company details via our suppliers' page.

Once construction is complete there will be 28 new, permanent operational roles at the facility. These roles will be promoted and recruited locally by STC Power as the operator of the new facility and further details will be released at a later date. It is currently anticipated that recruitment for these roles will commence in late 2023.

The traditional apprentice model is difficult to operate as the construction process will typically be over a three-year period, with a relatively limited number of roles operating continuously throughout this period. This challenge can be potentially addressed through the operation of a ‘shared apprentice’ scheme, and the potential for this will be explored at Oldhall.

While apprenticeship opportunities will be limited during the construction of the ERF, there is potential for the project to take on apprentices once the project is operational and established. We will review the potential for apprenticeships at that stage.

Many elements of the project, including a very high proportion of the civils works, will be predominantly delivered by UK companies. However, some aspects of the project will be sourced from outside of the UK.

The technology used in energy recovery facilities is not always available in the UK, and often there is a lack of industrial manufacturing capacity for the type of components required. Consequently, the design of the plant and many of the technical components will comes from specialist companies from outside of the UK.

There will, however, be opportunities for suppliers to maintain and service the facility throughout its operational life.

Yes, there may well be times when labour is sourced through agencies – or principal labour suppliers as they are sometimes known. As part of the subcontracting agreements, we will ensure their terms and conditions meet or exceed the Scottish Living Wage.

As the numbers of people and types of skill on site will fluctuate over time, it is not possible to estimate this figure at this stage.

Only legitimate umbrella companies, with HMRC approval, will be used.

Operation

The proposed facility is located on vacant land within the Oldhall Industrial Estate. It lies between the A78 and Long Drive, on the southern side of the Lowmac Alloys materials recycling facility, and to the east of the Shewalton Waste Transfer Station operated by North Ayrshire Council.

The land is owned by Doveryard Limited.

  • Post-recycled waste will be transported to the Oldhall Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) by enclosed HGV and stored within a bunker.
  • Waste from the bunker is put into a fuel hopper by a crane and transferred onto a moving grate where the waste is treated at high temperatures.
  • Hot air created from the combustion process passes through a boiler, converting water into high pressure steam. This steam drives a highly efficient turbine to produce electricity.
  • The electricity generated is exported to the local electricity distribution system to be used by homes and businesses. Subject to a suitable local off-taker, some of the steam created by the process could be used to by nearby businesses.
  • By-products such as ash and metals can be reused and recycled. For example ash will be recycled for use as an aggregate in construction.
  • All emissions from the process are continuously monitored and where required treated to meet strict air quality standards as set out within the site’s environmental permit.
  • Operational staff in the control room will monitor and manage the end to end whole process to ensure a safe, efficient and compliant process.

The facility will generate 17MW of electricity, enough to power the equivalent of over 30,000 homes, more than all the residential properties in Irvine. It is also possible to generate heat that can be used by nearby businesses.

The facility will accept post-recycled, pre-treated non-hazardous residential, commercial and industrial waste.

Oldhall Energy Recovery Facility will be subject to a strict Environmental Permit issued and regulated by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). We will use advanced controls and continuous emissions monitoring technology to make sure air emissions meet stringent modern standards as set out in the environmental permit.

 

As part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) prepared to support the planning application, a detailed assessment of the potential effects on air quality was carried out, looking at emissions from the stack, as well as HGVs visiting the facility.

 

During operation, the facility will use CEMS – Continuous Emissions Monitoring System – which will use probes in the flue gas stack to continuously monitor the flue gas emissions. As noted above, the facility will operate under strict permit conditions set out by SEPA, which has legal powers to halt operation of the plant and / or prosecute any organisation that is not operating within the conditions set out in the facility’s environmental permit. Facilities are not allowed to begin to operate unless they can meet the conditions set out in the environmental permit.

No. The impact of the facility on the adjoining Oldhall Ponds wildlife site and reserve have been carefully assessed and the facility will not harm the habitats or wildlife that use them. The project team will work closely with the Scottish Wildlife Trust who manage the site. We will also ensure that disturbance to wildlife is minimised during construction.

No. The facility’s design means that almost all activity will take place indoors and therefore any noise impacts in the wider area will be insignificant.

 

Background noise monitoring has been carried out and the data used to assess the potential effects on the nearest receptors to the site, in line with published standards and guidance. This information was provided as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which accompanied the planning application.

The project will have little or no impact on traffic because:

 

  • No HGVs will need to go through any residential areas or the town. All construction and operational HGVs will have direct, easy access to the site from the A71 and A78 via Long Drive.
  • A proportion of waste material will be provided from the adjacent Lowmac site, so this waste will no longer need to be transported away from the Lowmac site.

The tallest part of the facility (the flue gas stack) will be no more than 60 metres high. In comparison, the stack for the approved biomass power facility at the nearby  Caledonian paper mill is 73 metres high. The footprint of the facility is much smaller than that of the Caledonian paper mill or Ardagh glass factory at Portland Place in Irvine.

We’re continuing to look at options to provide nearby commercial and industrial users with some of the heat generated by the process to make it more efficient.

As well as creating local jobs and investment, we intend to play an active role in the local community and support both local community and environmental initiatives.

 

 

The carbon impacts of the Oldhall Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) have been assessed against a variety of scenarios, including business as usual, landfilling all materials, and only generating electricity.

In every scenario - including building the ERF - there is a substantial beneficial effect, reducing the carbon burden of the materials handled.

Every step is taken to minimise the likelihood of odour. We have taken the following steps to support this:

 

 

  • fast acting shutter doors will be provided on the tipping hall;
  • waste will be stored inside: i.e. within enclosed buildings to prevent odour release;
  • the waste reception and tipping hall / waste bunker, will be kept under negative pressure by extracting air using an induced draft (ID) fan for use in the combustion process;
  • an odour abatement system (also known as an odour extraction system) utilising carbon filtration will be used for periods when the plant is shut down for maintenance or other outage events.
  • Operational procedures will be in place to divert waste away from the installation during maintenance shut downs if required.

The Oldhall Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) will be regulated by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), which uses strict regulations to ensure that the operator controls and monitors emissions and operations on a constant basis. SEPA has legal powers that enable it to halt operation of a facility and / or prosecute any organisation that is not operating within the conditions set out in the facility’s Environmental Permit. In addition, the monitoring system includes safeguards to halt operation in the event that the conditions of the Environmental Permit are not likely to be met. Facilities are not allowed to begin operating unless they can meet (and prove) the conditions set down in the Environmental Permit.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) will enforce safety standards for the lifetime of the facility.  As part of the permit, in the event of an emissions exceedance there is a requirement to inform SEPA in a timely manner.

 

SEPA carries out regular checks on the facility, some of them unannounced. It also has the power to shut the facility down if it believes it is not operating correctly. On site, emissions from the stack will be monitored continually to ensure they comply with the emissions levels set within the Environmental Permit, and emissions data will be collected as part of the conditions of the Environmental Permit.

 

If the emission levels start to rise, it will be detected by the continuous emissions monitoring system and the distributed control system (DCS) and operators will make adjustments to the plant’s operations to maintain compliance with the environmental permit.

The main components are water vapour, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and oxygen, with small trace elements of pollutants that are below the limits set out in the Environmental Permit.