H-POWER Expansion Hits the Half Way Mark

Honolulu's Department of Environmental Services says a $300 million project to expand the city's waste-to-energy plant is halfway finished. The city is adding a third boiler and making other improvements to its H-POWER plant at Campbell Industrial Park, which burns waste to generate electricity. H-POWER currently generates enough electrical energy to power 50,000 homes. By the time the expansion is completed the middle of next year, the plant will be capable of powering 75,000 homes. It will also supply eight percent of the electricity consumed on Oahu. Construction on the expansion began last year. The city said workers expect to complete all mechanical work, including on the boiler and steam turbine generator, over the coming year.

Maine Governor's Office Supports WTE Utilization

The Maine Governor’s Office of Energy Independence and Security (OEIS) released its report, “Waste to Energy Power” to the Maine Legislature, Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology. The report examines the issue of qualifying certain waste-to-energy power for renewable energy credits and renewable resource portfolio requirements. The Governor’s Office of Energy Independence and Security (OEIS) recommends that its office work collaboratively with the Maine Legislature, the State Planning Office, Maine Public Utilities Commission, and the Department of Environmental Protection to actively consider financial, regulatory and policy options for WTE as a renewable resource. Based on its examination of WTE resources and the critical need to create jobs, enhance competitive markets, promote economic development and enhance Maine's energy security and long-term economic viability, the OEIS supports utilization of WTE as a renewable energy resource. The comprehensive report is available here.

Maryland Legislature Sends WTE Bill to Governor's Desk

The Maryland House of Delegates and Senate both passed the SB 690, which will elevate waste-to-energy to a Tier 1 renewable under the state renewable portfolio standard. The final bill was passed in the Senate with a 24-20 vote and in the House of Delegates with a 79-60 vote. The legislation will now be sent to the Governor Martin O’Malley who has supported the bill is expected to sign it into law.  The ERC urged him this week to sign the bill quickly.  The newspapers have been actively covering the process in Annapolis.  The Baltimore Sun printed an op-ed by Rick Brandes, formerly of EPA's Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, in support of the legislation.  The Sun also printed a letter to the editor from Ted Michaels of the Energy Recovery Council which also supported the pro-WTE bill. An opinion piece in a local Maryland newspaper provided the interesting perspective on the issue, stating that opposition groups' “well-intentioned stances have no logical connection to actually improving the environment.”

ERC Submits Comments on Bingaman-Murkowski CES White Paper

The Energy Recovery Council submitted comments in response to the clean energy standard white paper released by Senators Jeff Bingaman and Lisa Murkowski, Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The senators sought public comment on the specifics of such a bill, including what sources should be counted as clean energy. In his State of the Union address in January, Obama called on Congress to pass legislation requiring utilities to get 80 percent of their power by 2035 from alternative sources such wind and solar, as well as nuclear, natural gas and carbon capture and storage coal plants.

Alaska Holds Hearing on a Resolution Favoring Waste-to-Energy

The Alaska House Special Committee on Energy held a hearing on a resolution urging support for waste-to-energy. The resolution was introduced by Rep. Pete Petersen (D-Anchorage) who believes this technology can help communities across Alaska. Waste-to energy technology is already in use in Alaska at Eielson Air Force Base. This technology kills two birds with one stone, said Rep. Petersen. It lowers pressure on community landfills and it provides a cheap, reliable source of power. The committee held the resolution to get more input from the Parnell administration. Ted Michaels of the Energy Recovery Council testified at the hearing in support of the resolution.