Renewable energy is ready to help states meet EPA's new carbon rule

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its first-ever proposed rule limiting carbon dioxide pollution from existing power plants. Renewable energy industries have done their part to cut costs and are already helping every state make progress to cut their carbon emissions. Even better, these industries can help states make even more significant reductions, in accordance with the proposed rule – saving consumers money and driving local economic development in the process.

Over the last few years, wind, solar, biomass, waste-to-energy and other renewable energy technologies have experienced record growth and a major reduction in costs. Costs are continuing to trend downwards, and the reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and deployed megawatts are rapidly heading upwards. Below are statements from several of the renewable energy trade associations in reaction to EPA’s draft proposal today:

"The Energy Recovery Council applauds the Obama Administration on today’s announcement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants,” said Ted Michaels, President of the Energy Recovery Council. “ERC believes that renewable technologies, such as waste-to-energy, will help give states a variety options and strategies to meet its objectives.  Waste-to-energy is a critical greenhouse gas mitigation tool relied on by the European Union to achieve GHG reductions, and with significant potential for further deployment in the U.S.  According to the U.S. EPA, every ton of municipal solid waste processed at a waste-to-energy facility reduces lifecycle GHG emissions by one ton of carbon dioxide equivalents.”

“Reducing carbon pollution by deploying renewable energy will keep electricity affordable and reliable, create jobs, and support local economic development. Renewable energy technologies have become integral and reliable parts of the U.S. electricity supply. Meeting these regulations is very doable, and the U.S.-made renewable energy industries are ready to do so affordably,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association.

“Biomass Power Association commends the Obama Administration for its strong commitment to reducing carbon emissions from existing power plants,” said Bob Cleaves, President and CEO of the Biomass Power Association. “This is an exciting time for renewable energy, especially the biomass industry.”

ERC Releases 2014 Directory of U.S. WTE Facilities

The Energy Recovery Council today released The 2014 ERC Directory of Waste-to-Energy Facilities, which provides information on the 84 waste-to-energy facilities in the United States and the key issues affecting the sector.   By processing post-recycled municipal solid waste,  today's waste-to-energy facilities:

  • Produce renewable, baseload energy
  • Reduce greenhouse gases
  • Create good-paying, green jobs
  • Operate with superior environmental performance
  • Complement and enhance recycling goals

Eighty-four waste-to-energy facilities in 23 states have the capacity to process more than 96,000 tons of waste per day with a baseload electric capacity of 2,769 megawatt hours.  Due to superior operational reliability, the nation’s waste-to-energy facilities process in excess of 30 million tons of trash per year, sell more than 14.5 million megawatt hours to the grid, and recover more than 730,000 tons of ferrous metals for recycling.  In addition, many facilities sell steam directly to end users offsetting the use of fossil fuels to make that energy.

New Recycling Compatibility Report Reaffirms that WTE & Recycling are Compatible

A new recycling compatibility report was released by Eileen Berenyi of Governmental Advisory Associates today entitled, “A Compatibility Study: Recycling and Waste-to-Energy Work in Concert, 2014 Update”.  This study updates similar analyses conducted in 2008 and 2009. Their purpose was to answer the question: Does a community’s use of a waste-to-energy plant to dispose of its waste impact the level of recycling in that community? The 2008 study answered that question with a resounding no. The means of disposal had no impact on the level of recycling; in fact, many communities which sent their waste to a waste-to-energy plant had higher levels of recycling than averages that prevailed across their state. This current paper, updates the study, using 2012 data as much as possible. In an examination of recycling rates of 700 communities in twenty-one states, which rely on waste-to-energy for their waste disposal, it was again demonstrated that this means of disposal had no impact on recycling.  In fact, overall communities using waste-to-energy had a slightly higher level of recycling than that observed across their states and across the nation.

Register for NAWTEC; Join WTE's Biggest Stage!

The 22nd Annual North American Waste-to-Energy Conference (NAWTEC) is just around the corner.  Register today!  NAWTEC, which will take place May 7-9 in Reston, VA (metropolitan Washington, DC), is recognized as the industry’s premier conference and trade show focusing on municipal waste-to-energy business, operational and policy issues, as well as technology and research initiatives.  NAWTEC 22 features:

  • Real Insight through in-depth sessions, addressing issues such as development of new WTE capacity, enhancing business opportunities in core WTE services, examining recent developments in waste conversion technologies, enhancing operations, exploring the work being done by the Department of Defense to increase renewable capacity and how waste-to-energy can capitalize on those opportunities, examining the latest research and technology, and more.
  • Real Solutions with a variety of exhibitors providing critical products and services to the waste-to-energy industry.
  • Real First-hand Experiences with a tour of the Montgomery County Resource Recovery Facility in Dickerson, Maryland.

Please visit www.nawtec.org for information on registration, the hotel, and the program. 


Center for American Progress Again Looks to WTE to Achieve GHG Reductions

The Center for American Progress (CAP) published an article online this week in which author Matt Kasper discusses the importance of waste-to-energy as a means for the Obama Administration to achieve its goals in reducing methane emissions.  CAP asserts that the recent release of the White House’s Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions is a promising step forward, but that there are more policies that the administration should pursue---such as utilization of waste-to-energy, which will reduce landfill methane emissions and offset the carbon dioxide emissions generated from coal and natural gas power plants. Additionally, states should be allowed to incorporate WTE technology in their implementation plans to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s, or EPA’s, forthcoming carbon-pollution (111(d)) standards.  CAP states that when the EPA begins to take public comments on the landfill standards, the use of energy-recovery facilities must be on the agency’s agenda. To read the article, click here.  This builds upon a 2013 article published by CAP entitled, "Energy from Waste Can Help Curb Greenhouse Gas Emissions."

Darryl Banks, Vice President for Energy Policy at the Center for American Progress, will discuss the opportunities for WTE to reduce GHGs during Session 2 of the North American Waste-to-Energy Conference in Reston, VA on May 8.  Please visit www.nawtec.org to register.