Covanta: Rookery Energy Recovery Facility begins operations

By Covanta | January 25, 2022

An important milestone has been achieved at Rookery South as the construction and commissioning phases of the energy recovery facility (ERF) on part of the former Stewartby Brickworks land have been completed. Hitachi Zosen Inova, the principal contractor on the site, has handed the facility over to Covanta’s operations team who are now responsible for all site-based operations. Following the three-year construction phase which began early in 2019, on Jan. 21, 2022, HZI as the principal EPC contractor (engineering, procurement and construction), successfully handed over on schedule to Covanta, the plant’s long-term operator.

This important milestone will now see the Rookery South ERF begin operations where it will process over 545,000 metric tons of non-recyclable residual waste into baseload electricity which powers local homes and businesses. This facility is also helping to support the UK’s move away from landfilling waste – the least environmentally sustainable option.

“On behalf of Covanta’s construction team who oversaw the management of the contract, I want to thank HZI, Fichtner and the many Covanta employees who spent lockdown on-site, for safely completing the construction and commissioning phases of the Rookery South ERF,” said Owen Michaelson, president of Covanta Europe.

“With Brexit and the unwanted arrival of Covid-19, this was a construction project like no other in recent times. However, with the expertise and engineering excellence of HZI working with all the various local and international contractors and suppliers into the project, we have collectively steered the construction program through some of the most challenging conditions an infrastructure project could possibly face.

“It’s testament to the collaborative approach adopted by all team members that we completed this project on schedule in the face of these unprecedented challenges. I would particularly like to thank Tony McShane, Covanta Europe’s Construction Director for setting the appropriate tone and culture at the commencement of the construction program, and this positive culture has been maintained throughout the delivery phase of the project. Finally, I would like to also thank Veolia, our principal fuel supply partner, for delivering all the waste required during the challenging Christmas period and against the backdrop of the driver shortage.”

Throughout the construction and commissioning phases, this project has provided employment for over 500 contracting personnel and supply chain opportunities for business locally, across the UK and internationally.

The Rookery South facility now employs over 60 new personnel in full-time operational roles, with many of the positions being sourced from within 25 miles of the plant in Stewartby, Bedfordshire. In addition, operational supply chain contracts have also been awarded to local businesses in direct support of the local economy.

The project has also opened its Community Trust Fund which will now provide financial support to local charities and community causes, alongside the scheme’s innovative Rookery South Community Energy Initiative, which will lower the annual electricity bills for households and community assets in the vicinity of the plant.