Covanta Starts Operating the Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility on schedule

Stewartby, Bedfordshire – 21st January 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 (HZI) 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 the 21st January 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 tonnes 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 programme 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.

Rookery South Fact File:

  1. The Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility is located in a former brickworks site on the outskirts of Stewartby, Bedfordshire in England.
  2. The equity in the facility is owned by Covanta, Green Investment Group and Veolia.
  3. The Rookery South Energy Recovery Facility will process over 545,000 tonnes of solid waste which cannot be sensibly recycled - helping to move the UK away from landfilling non-recyclable waste, or being exported to EfW plants overseas.
  4. This enables the UK to become self-sufficient in managing its own waste and achieve compliance with landfill diversion targets.
  5. The facility is treating municipal, commercial and non-hazardous industrial residual waste as fuel to generate over 60 megawatts of baseload electrical energy - enough to power the equivalent of over 112,500 homes.
  6. Between 2019 and 2022, the construction phase has created of over 500 jobs, and now employs over 60 new personnel in full-time operational roles.
  7. For more information on the project, please visit

About Covanta:

Covanta is a world leader in providing sustainable waste and energy solutions. Waste-to-Energy is a vital part of the waste disposal value chain, offering a far more sustainable alternative to landfilling waste for communities and businesses, with a significantly smaller real estate footprint per tonne disposed compared to traditional landfills. The process ensures optimal use of waste by: reducing waste volumes by 90 percent that would otherwise get landfilled; eliminating nearly one ton of greenhouse gases equivalent per ton of municipal solid waste; producing sustainable, highly reliable electricity, capacity, and steam for utilities and industrial customers; and recycling metals found within municipal solid waste.

Annually, Covanta’s modern Waste-to-Energy facilities safely convert approximately 21 million tons of waste from municipalities and businesses into clean, renewable electricity to power one million homes and recycle 600,000 tons of metal. Through a vast network of treatment and recycling facilities, Covanta also provides comprehensive industrial material management services to companies seeking solutions to some of today’s most complex environmental challenges. For more information, visit


Covanta Media contact:

David Spencer

T:+44 (0)7506 208 555