Congress Chooses Waste-to-Energy

Capitol Hill will begin sending its trash to local waste-to-energy facilities that will turn trash into electricity, according to an announcement today by the Architect of the Capitol (AoC).  The chairman of the Committee on House Administration, Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), praised the AoC’s waste-to-energy initiative. “Waste-to-energy facilities, woefully underutilized here in the U.S., are an environmentally efficient, cost-effective means to reduce greenhouse emissions and divert waste from landfills” wrote Lungren in a statement Thursday.  Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.) said in a statement, “Waste-to-energy is one of the steps we need to take to end our dependence on foreign energy sources and dictators like Hugo Chavez.”

The support for sending trash from the Capitol and House and Senate office buildings was bipartisan.  Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), the ranking member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior and Environment, praised the news of the waste-to-energy program, saying "“It’s the appropriate thing to do, burning our waste and getting energy from it,” he said.  Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), who pays a carbon-offset provider to offset the greenhouse gas emissions related to his Washington and district offices, said, “I’m totally open to it [WTE], if it’s done right." 

Statement of Ted Michaels, President, Energy Recovery Council:

“The Energy Recovery Council applauds the decision of the Architect of the Capitol and the Committee on House Administration to send Congress’ non-recyclable waste to waste-to-energy facilities. By relying on waste-to-energy, Congress will save taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars, reduce the Capitol’s greenhouse gas emissions, increase the region’s supply of renewable energy and reduce dependence on landfilling. Waste-to-energy is recognized around the world as a renewable, low-emission power source and a sustainable waste management tool. It also provides thousands of well-paying, clean energy jobs that can’t be exported. It is extremely encouraging to see Congress stand behind this technology in a bipartisan way. Our industry looks forward to continuing to support local jobs while providing clean, affordable power for the region.”

ERC Submits Comments to EPA on Measuring MSW Trends

The Energy Recovery Council filed comments this week on EPA’s notice seeking input on measuring waste generation, recovery, and disposal in the United States. EPA has for years relied upon data generated by the Franklin Institute which estimated the amount of waste generated in the United States based on manufacturing data. Due to inherent flaws in this process which leads to the gross underestimation of waste generation, the ERC has relied upon the data published by BioCycle/Columbia University in its biannual State of the Garbage in America, which relies on data reported by state agencies. ERC’s comments are intended to drive EPA to reporting-based data. In addition, ERC recommends that they begin to track all types of waste, not just traditional municipal solid waste.

Minneapolis WTE Facility Earns SWANA Award

The Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC) has received a Waste-to-Energy Excellence Award at the Gold level from the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA). SWANA’s Excellence Awards Program recognizes outstanding solid waste programs and facilities that advance the practice of environmentally and economically sound solid waste management. HERC, located in downtown Minneapolis, provides reliable, renewable electricity that is sold to Xcel Energy and steam that supplies the downtown district energy system and Target Field. HERC is owned by Hennepin County and operated by Covanta Energy. To earn the award, HERC was judged on a wide variety of criteria, including engineering and technology, operational performance and efficiency, environmental compliance, aesthetics, other recycling and solid waste management programs in the county, public relations and education, and innovation and creativity. HERC is situated in a unique and highly visible urban location. With the construction of Target Field, new light rail, commuter rail and other mass transit projects, and residential and commercial redevelopment efforts, the neighborhood around the HERC has changed significantly since operations began more than 20 years ago.  The county has also worked with community partners to ensure that HERC continues to be a good neighbor and an integral part of downtown redevelopment.

Grenada Considering Waste-to-Energy

The Government of Grenada (GoG) through the Grenada Solid Waste Management Authority (GSWMA) invites submissions of expression of interest to establish a waste-to-energy facility on the island of Grenada. GSWMA is responsible for the collection of domestic solid waste throughout Grenada. A 2009 study that examined options for waste disposal, among other things in Grenada, gave support to a waste-to-energy thrust. Interested parties may consider and submit any appropriate technology and any commercial arrangement within the confines of existing policy and legislation. The venture will include researching, sourcing, construction, installation and commissioning of a suitable and appropriate waste to energy technology in Grenada as a means of effectively dealing with applicable fractions of the municipal solid waste stream. The GoG wishes to have an operational waste to energy facility by the fourth quarter of 2015 and intends to choose a suitable waste to energy partner by the third quarter of 2012. For more information on how to submit an expression of interest, please visit: http://www.gswma.com/download/IEOI_Grenada.pdf.

Arizona Takes Steps to Make WTE Renewable

The Arizona Corporation Commission this week approved Mohave Electric Cooperative's request to count the electricity from a waste-to-energy facility toward its renewable-energy goals. The commission requires utilities to get 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025 and to additionally reduce their power demand by 22 percent by 2020 through conservation. Mohave, a tiny, non-profit distribution utility in northwestern Arizona, asked for the waiver to make electricity from trash because that type of unit was not initially included in the Commission's program.  The commission voted 3-2 in favor of Mohave's request.