"Squeezing Enegy Out of Garbage Puts Trash to Good Use"

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel ran an editorial today that supports the Solid Waste Authority's decision to build a an additional waste-to-energy facility in Palm Beach County to delay the closure of the county landfill.  In 2006, the average county resident threw away 9.5 pounds of garbage every day — a full 30 percent more than 10 years before. The county has decided to solicit proposals from private companies to build and operate a new $700 million waste-to-energy plant.  The Sun-Sentinel editorial stated that "squeezing energy out of garbage puts trash to good use. That's not just green. It's smart. And it's the best plan the county has in the works for dealing with its growing trash pile."

ERC Testifies in Opposition to Legislation Restricting Renewable Energy

The Energy Recovery Council testified this week in Boston on a bill to implement a ballot question that would strip renewable energy credits from biomass and waste-to-energy plants. The Massachusetts Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy took testimony on a proposal to strip biomass and waste-to-energy plants of renewable incentives if they emit more than 250 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour. Testifying in strong opposition to the proposal, Ted Michaels of the Energy Recovery Council urged the Committee to use a life cycle analysis when looking at greenhouse gases and not rely on arbitrary limits. In addition, Michaels urged the committee to continue to model its renewable policies based on progressive European nations that recognize that waste-to-energy as a renewable energy source and a net reducer of greenhouse gases.  Also testifying against the legislation were developers of renewable energy and major nongovernmental organizations such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, Environmental Defense, and Environment America.

WTE Generates Carbon Offset Credits in Lee County

Lee County (FL) has been certified by the Voluntary Carbon Standard to generate carbon offsets which can be sold to those entities wishing to acquire carbon credits.  By emitting less greenhouse gases than its alternatives, the county has banked more than 80,000 carbon credits. Lee County's waste-to-energy plant will become first in the nation to sell its own carbon credits on the voluntary market. The price for carbon credit on the voluntary market ranges anywhere from 50-cents to five-dollars per credit. The money generated by these credits will go to offset garbage collection fees, which means residents of Lee County could eventually see a lower bill.  Please click here for an article describing how the process works. 

WTE Jobs can be created throgh Renewable Electricity Standard

A major new study shows that hundreds of thousands of new American jobs in the wind, solar, biomass, waste-to-energy and hydropower industries would be created through a 25% by 2025 national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES). The "Job Impacts of a National Renewable Electricity Standard" study, conducted by independent firm Navigant Consulting and released by the RES Alliance for Jobs, found that a 25% by 2025 national RES would support an additional 274,000 renewable energy jobs - the equivalent of a cumulative 2.36 million job-years of work -- over a no-national policy option. The study emphasizes that while tax credits continue to play a critically important role in preserving the viability of existing facilities, an RES is needed in order to support both near- and long-term investments. To read the report, visit www.res-alliance.org/res-jobs-study.  A backgrounder can be downloaded here.

Honolulu Breaks Ground on WTE Expansion

The City of Honolulu broke ground in December on the long-awaited expansion plans for Honolulu’s H-Power plant. The $302 million project will expand the waste-to-energy plant’s capacity by 50 percent to handle an added 300,000 tons of garbage a year at the Campbell Industrial Park facility. Processing capacity will increase to 900,000 tons at the 28-acre plant, which is owned by the City and County of Honolulu. That volume will be able to generate 84 megawatts of power, which represents about 6 percent of Oahu’s electricity needs.  The project will create approximately 300 construction jobs as well as additional jobs to operate and maintain the facility when it’s completed in two years. With Oahu residents generating about 1.5 million tons of garbage each year, the expanded capacity at H-Power will help reduce the tonnage sent to Oahu’s only landfill, Waimanalo Gulch.