Waste to Energy: “Waste today – benefit tomorrow “

Since the post-war period, Kosovo citizens have paid relatively low electricity prices. In 2011, the average electricity price in Kosovo, without tax, according to the Energy Regulatory Office was 0.0578 €/KWh. With the privatization of the energy sector in Kosovo, prices are expected to rise. In Kosovo, households account for around 60% of energy consumption and knowing that unemployment is over 40% any increase in electricity price is highly unwelcomed. Kosovo currently uses coal for producing electricity, which doesn’t fill the demand hence Kosovo import electricity over 600 mWh per year with 70 €/MGwH to cover the basic need of the country, without taking into consideration the negative impact in citizens life and environmental damages.

And yet, this is not the only problem citizens face. Kosovo is over-loaded with waste. There are only 7 licensed companies that manage waste in 33 municipalities in Kosovo, covering only 49% of the total population (worst scenarios are in rural areas with only 10% coverage). The total amount of collected waste is around 250,000 ton/year, most of which is disposed in waste disposals. Our country doesn’t have a clear strategy for decreasing landfill waste or more importantly increase recycles rates. We have a considerable number of un-managed hot-spots of waste all around Kosovo, which increase the carbon dioxide, and risks the potential of increased number of diseases. Based on some municipal analysis 35-45% of the waste in Kosovo is organic and recycled, mainly metals (73%) and letter (3%). There are no available statistics regarding the impact of waste in citizen’s health, but with country’s aspiration towards EU one thing is for certain both waste and energy need to be re-considered.

Today a big number of nations use waste to produce energy. Waste-to-energy investments are economically sound investment, as well as provide multiple financial and environmental benefits to the communities that utilize them. The procedures of creating energy from waste (EfW) is by collecting waste (commercial industrial, agricultural, construction, sewage and demolition) and converting it into any type of usable energy, the three main forms being heating, electricity and transport fuels. The only criterion is that the waste fraction is combustible and/or biodegradable.

The purpose of this article is to open a discussion about the role energy from waste might have in managing waste. The Waste management factor in Kosovo is very low, but even if it was higher, Kosovo would never solve its waste issues solely by recycling – there is quite simply too much waste to deal with and too many waste streams that do not benefit from recycling.

We have a growing mass of waste which needs dealing with. It is, therefore, a clear connection for most people to see the energy production and waste disposal can help solve both problems. Let’s not waste any more time, energy, and opportunities. The time for Energy-from-Waste is now!

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