Phase one is being built by Costain, primarily for the Greater Manchester Waste PFI contract.
Phase two will cost £160m and have a capacity of 375,000 tonnes a year, fed by other customers outside the Manchester area.
Colin Drummond, chief executive of Viridor, said: “The combined Runcorn plant will be one of the largest and most efficient in Europe with a total capacity of 750kt of waste p.a., 70MW of electricity and 51MW of heat.
“Construction of phase two will be coordinated with ongoing work on phase one, which permits significant cost savings.
“It will enable phase two to come on stream by 2014/2015 by which time large scale energy from waste facilities will be cost competitive against landfill with landfill tax by then being £80 per tonne.”
Viridor said steeply rising landfill tax is driving residual waste disposal away from landfill towards energy-from-waste.
The UK could quadruple the amount of energy that it generates from waste within five years, it has been claimed.
The Confederation of British Industry has released its Going to Waste: Making the Case for Energy From Waste report which states that energy-from-waste sources could provide 6% of the country’s power by 2015.
According to business leaders, the government should encourage the use of non-recyclable waste in the EfW industry to reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill and help meet the energy needs of the UK.
Neil Bentley, CBI director of business environment, claimed more anaerobic digestion and incineration plants should be developed.
He said: “Across Europe, generating energy from waste is common and compatible with high levels of recycling.
“The government needs to encourage the development of more anaerobic digestion and incineration plants, and tackle delays in the planning system.”
Energy from waste schemes
- Covanta and Peel Environmental plan £500m industrial eco-park at Ince Marshes
- Covanta plans a large EfW in excess of 50MW at Rookery South, Bedfordshire as part of the Buckinghamshire waste project.
- Covanta has a 50MW-plus plant planned for Merthyr Tydfil
- Shanks has planning for its second MBT for the Cumbria council PPP project, to process 75,000 tonnes of waste a year
- SITA UK will build a £180m EfW plant in Great Blakenham, near Ipswich as part of £1bn Suffolk PFI
- SITA UK is also in line for £120m EfW in Teeside as part of South Tyne and Wear Waste Partnership
- Veolia is preferred bidder on a Staffordshire PFI, with a 23MW EfW plant
- Viridor is seeking planning for a 24MW EfW plant in Ardley, near Bicester
- Viridor is to build a 3MW EfW facility on Marsh Barton industrial estate in Exeter
- Viridor has planning permission for a £150m EfWscheme in Trident Park, Cardiff
- Waste Recycling Group is proposing a EfW plant in Newport to compete for the Prosiect Gwyrdd in Wales
- North London Waste PFI. Six firms shortlisted for scheme which includes an EfW plant at Edmonton
- South London Waste PFI where Waste Recycling Group, Veolia and Viridor are now left in the running for the £990m PFI contract, which includes a big combined heat and power EfW plant