Energy consumption can be divided into four broad sectors: industrial, transportation, residential, and commercial. In addition, the energy is used as electricity, transportation fuel, heating, cooling, process steam etc. World electricity demand is expected to continue to grow more strongly than any other final form of energy. Electricity generation is expected to transform as investments shift to low-carbon technologies as a result of government policies to enhance energy security and to limit carbon dioxide emissions.
The global market for thermal and biological WTE technologies was estimated to $19.9 bn in 2008. According to projections, the sector will be worth $26.2 bn in the next five years. Globally, landfills are the dominant treatment method of Municipal Solid Waste (“MSW”). The generation of waste is closely linked to the economic development in the country. A specific country’s driving force to implement incineration depends on its choice to implement substantial policy measures against landfilling. The extent of incineration varies therefore between countries.
The European Landfill Directive (issued in 1999) requires EU countries to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste in landfills to 35% of the 1995 levels by 2016. Increasing waste amounts in combination with the requirements of the landfill directive demand a capacity expansion of alternative treatment methods of almost 50 Mtons up till 2013. Known expansion plans for incineration digestion can increase the treatment capacity by 11.5 Mtons.
However, the planned capacity expansion will only cover approximately 25-30% of the demand for alternatives to landfillings by 2013.Together with the EU Renewable Energy Directive, the Landfill Directive is both a global standard setter as well as an indication of the political willingness to reduce landfills in favor of alternatives technologies, such as WTE. Prospective EU countries will also need to implement the directive if they are to join the EU.