Waste to Energy Revenue to Hit $13.6 Billion by 2016

According to a new report from Pike Research entitled “Waste-to-Energy Technology Markets”, worldwide revenues from WTE systems will enter a period of strong growth by 2012, increasing from $3.7 billion in 2010 to nearly $13.6 billion by 2016. “Waste-to-energy plants serve an important dual purpose,” says Pike Research president Clint Wheelock. “They help alleviate the growing municipal solid waste problem, while simultaneously providing much-needed renewable energy and heat sources to local populations. Energy from waste contributes to energy security and diversification, and matches the growing demand for renewable energy in a carbon constrained world.”

Today, more than 900 thermal WTE plants operate around the world and treat an estimated 0.2 billion tons of MSW with an output of approximately 130 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity. Combustion is currently the leading WTE technology and is entrenched in the market. However, advanced thermal treatment (ATT) technologies such as plasma-arc gasification are emerging in the market, and biological technologies for treating waste also offer an attractive alternative to thermal WTE methods.

Pike Research’s study analyzes the global market opportunity for waste-to-energy technologies as a means of generating electricity and heat from municipal solid waste. The study includes a comprehensive examination of economic and market drivers, existing and emerging technology options for WTE, the public policy and regulatory environment, and key industry players. Market forecasts, segmented by geography and technology category, extend through 2016.

New Ontario WTE Facility is Approved

After years of planning, the deal to construct a waste-to-energy facility that will turn York and Durham Region's garbage into energy is done. York Regional chairperson Bill Fisch and Durham chairperson Roger Anderson signed the agreement after the two regional councils gave their chairpersons authority to sign the contract with Covanta Energy to expedite the project. This action follows approval by the province's environmental authority. Environment Minister John Wilkinson's approval came with "strict conditions" attached. The total cost is projected at $278 million. Construction is expected to start next year, with the plant opening in 2014.

ERC Settlement on the GHG Mandatory Reporting Rule is Finalized

The Energy Recovery Council's settlement with EPA was finalized today as part of a final rule revising the Greenhouse Gas Mandatory Reporting Rule. Today's action codifies the settlement reached by ERC and EPA in July of this year. Today's action is significant since the relief afforded by the settlement could not take effect until EPA solicited public comments on this settlement (and settlements reached with other industries) and issued a final rule. The final rule had to be issued prior to January 1, 2011 or the facilities that will now benefit from the settlement would have been out of compliance with the original rule on January 1.

Under the original mandatory reporting rule, municipal waste combustor units greater than 250 tons per day were required to calculate and report greenhouse gas emissions using a burdensome Tier 4 methodology. The settlement provides relief for municipal waste combustor units which have a maximum rated input capacity less than 600 tons per day of MSW. Essentially, under the final rule, any units between 250 and 600 tons per day have been granted a reprieve and may now use the Tier 2 methodology to calculate and report greenhouse gases to EPA.

The settlment also clarifies that waste-to-energy facilities may utilize site-specific default moisture values if CO2 concentrations are measured on a dry basis. The signed copy of the rule can be found here.  It will be published in the Federal Register shortly.

New Frederick WTE Facility is Expected to Cost Less than Predicted

The proposed Frederick, MD waste-to-energy facility is expected to cost Frederick County $140.7 million over the next 30 years, significantly lower than previous estimates, according to a consultant's study. The study, conducted by the Municipal and Financial Services Group, said the reduction from an initial estimate of $331 million, is due to updating a previous model with current market conditions, including interest rates, energy prices and the consumer price index. Frederick County Commissioners President Jan Gardner said the new study reaffirms the board's commitment to building the waste-to-energy plant because it will generate electricity.  "Under all realistic scenarios, waste-to-energy would be less expensive than long-hauling," said David A. Hyder, a senior manager at the Municipal and Financial Services Group. Permits are expected to be issued for the waste-to-energy facility in January 2012. If they are, groundbreaking is expected for June 2012, with the plant becoming operational in spring 2015.

ERC Releases 2010 Directory of Waste-to-Energy Plants

The Energy Recovery Council today released the ERC Directory of Waste-to-Energy Plants, which provides current information about the waste-to-energy sector in the United States. In 2010, 86 plants operate in 24 states and have capacity to process more than 97,000 tons of municipal solid waste per day. According to the latest BioCycle estimates, 26 million tons of trash were processed by waste-to-energy facilities in 2008. While this amount is less than the 28 million tons processed in 2006, it reflects reduced waste generation during difficult economic times rather than decreased waste-to-energy capacity. The nation’s waste-to-energy facilities have the capacity to generate the energy equivalent of 2,790 megawatt hours of electricity. This figure includes an electric generating capacity of 2,572 megawatts and an equivalent of 218 megawatts based on steam exports estimated at approximately 2.8 million pounds per hour.