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SELCHP celebrates 25 years of low-carbon energy production in London - 12/03/2019

On 1st March 2019, the South East London Combined Heat and Power (SELCHP) facility, based in Lewisham, celebrated 25 years of providing London residents with low carbon electricity and heat, and a sustainable solution for their non recyclable waste. It has also supported the local community through the Community Fund and provided communities with an insight into the value of this type of plant through numerous public open days and educational site visits.

With the site capable of handling 440,000 tonnes of waste per year, it has played a significant role in reducing London's CO2 emissions, cut dependence on fossil fuels, helped decarbonise domestic heating and eliminated non recyclable waste from going to landfill. By generating electricity it has supported the electricity grid and the increasing demand for energy from the city's growing population. As an estimated 20% of the nation's carbon emissions are generated by domestic heating, due to a low standard of energy efficiency, using this type of non - fossil fuel heating lowers carbon emissions and can help reduce cost, and fuel poverty, in vulnerable groups.

Some of the key highlights from the last 25 years include:

  • Over 5 million MWh of electricity produced*, equivalent to the power used by over 1.5 million homes in a year
  • Over 10 million tonnes* of waste diverted from landfill and used for energy recovery
  • Over 189,000 MWh of heat distributed to over 2,800 homes via the district heating network
  • Over £300,000 awarded to local community projects
  • Achieved the highest efficiency rating, known as R1, for this type of plant
  • Reduced CO2 emissions by 7,700 tonnes per year
  • Winning the Peer Award for Excellence – for developing London's first energy from waste district heating network

Robbie Jameson, General Manager, said: "25 years of continuous operation is a huge milestone, and we are very proud of what SELCHP continues to accomplish in service of the communities around us. The plant has grown and been well invested in over the years, and with our leading District Heating service continuing to expand we also hope to provide more London residents and businesses with the opportunity to conserve precious resources and lower their carbon impact."

Richard Kirkman, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer, Veolia UK & Ireland who was on site on the opening day, and worked on waste inputs and emissions controls 25 years ago said "The success of SELCHP has proved that this type of plant makes a vital contribution to the environment and the communities it serves. Access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy has a direct impact on modern life, and is linked to fuel poverty and carbon emissions. To virtually eliminate wastes and produce energy in its place is a win-win situation.  By generating green electricity and heat from resources such as non-recyclable residual waste we improve resource efficiency, reduce landfill and achieve greater sustainability as part of the circular economy."

At a Silver Jubilee event held in Glaziers Hall, the latest recipients of the Community Fund were invited to showcase the difference the fund has made to their community. £12,500 has been distributed to six local organisations, these included:

  • Action for Refugees in Lewisham: Running art workshops to help alleviate loneliness at the Helping Hands Allotment Play Scheme – an innovative educational art project.
  • 2000 Community Action Centre: To fund Fareshare food membership for a year to the project, based in one of the most deprived areas of the Evelyn ward. The food received will be used in the cafe to support low cost meals, as well as food education to reduce obesity.

  • South East London Community Energy: Supporting their co ownership and operation of solar panels located at seven local schools, reducing energy costs and carbon emissions.

Powering 60,600 homes and also providing heat to thousands of local homes every year, SELCHP is a valuable part of London's low carbon energy infrastructure and an example of an industry-leading facility, operated and maintained to meet the highest standards of environmental care, meeting or exceeding emissions legislation throughout its operation.

SELCHP is one of 10 energy from waste plants operated by Veolia across the UK.  With a total generating capacity of 180 MWe these provide enough low carbon electricity for the equivalent of over 430,000 homes. Energy from waste plants are a long established and efficient technology that is used across the world. Once economically recyclable materials have been collected, these plants put the waste to further use, following the principles of the Circular Economy, and the Clean Growth Strategy.

----- Notes to the Editor -----


SELCHP (pronounced 'sell-chip') is an advanced Energy Recovery Facility built through a partnership between the public and private sectors. Opened in 1994, SELCHP is regarded as an example of industry best practice, with similar facilities modelled on its design now constructed around the world.


SELCHP Ltd. is operated and maintained to meet the highest standards of environmental care, meeting or exceeding emissions legislation. SELCHP has held certification against the ISO 14001 International Environmental Management Standard since 1999. Our environmental performance is measured and audited, with emphasis again placed on continual improvement. SELCHP was the first Energy Recovery Facility in the UK to gain certification to ISO 14001.


In 2014, working in partnership with the London Borough of Southwark, a district heating network was installed, providing 2,500 homes with heat and hot water from SELCHP. The scheme has proven very valuable in assisting the council's fight against fuel poverty and has cut approximately 7,700 tonnes of CO2 per year, by displacing gas as a heating source. Further developments are currently in planning to ensure the system is expanded to more heat consumers and residents.

About Veolia UK

Veolia London has activities in over half of London's boroughs. These activities range from recycling and waste management services for businesses and households, street cleansing and the maintenance of parks and open spaces, to the operation of modern waste recycling, treatment and disposal facilities.

Veolia group is the global leader in optimized resource management. With nearly 169 000 employees worldwide, the Group designs and provides water, waste and energy management solutions that contribute to the sustainable development of communities and industries. Through its three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and to replenish them.


In 2017, the Veolia group supplied 96 million people with drinking water and 62 million people with wastewater service, produced nearly 55 million megawatt hours of energy and converted 47 million metric tons of waste into new materials and energy. Veolia Environnement (listed on Paris Euronext: VIE) recorded consolidated revenue of €25.12 billion in 2017(USD 30.1 billion).
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