This prompted the decision to develop a €38M ISWMS for West Macedonia, which would be delivered via Greece’s first waste PPP framework. As such, this was a key enabler project for similar schemes to be rolled out in Greece, but it was carried out at a time when economic conditions in the country meant that all other PPP initiatives had been frozen. This made its success particularly crucial, so Ellaktor – the project’s private partner – and the EIB needed the services of a skilled, adaptable and transparent technical advisor.
We undertook a due diligence review of all technical, commercial and environmental aspects of the ISWMS, including a 120,000t per annum, state-of-the-art mechanical and biological treatment (MBT) facility, a residual landfill site and 10 waste transfer stations. Our review covered a wide range of proposed MBT technologies and a detailed technical analysis of their higher-risk aspects. The option chosen was Herhof bio box biological treatment coupled with advanced mechanical recovery technologies, including extensive optical separation.
We also conducted a review of the financial model, contract documents, environmental permit, proposed method statements and contracting structure. Throughout the due diligence process we maintained a technically robust and detailed approach – even when readjusting our strategy to deliver additional client requirements – and ensured active local stakeholder engagement, enabling knowledge and skills transfer.
Following successful financial close, construction began in 2015. We provided construction monitoring on behalf of the lenders. The MBT plant started operations in June 2017, producing compost-like output which is being spread to land locally. Our work on the project is continuing with an operations monitoring contract. The West Macedonia ISWMS is achieving regional and national targets on recycling, residues minimisation and biodegradable municipal waste diversion, producing high-quality recyclable materials.
It is a landmark project for Greece and the Balkans, having introduced higher standards in environmental performance, health and safety, services availability and waste management systems integration. Thanks to its success, two more Greek waste PPPs are now under construction, for which we are acting as lenders’ technical advisor and independent certifier.