Friday, May 02, 2008

Waste to energy plant studied

CT Resource Recovery Association (CRRA) has approved $390,500 to study the feasibility of its acquiring a waste-to-energy plant in Wallingford before its contract with the plant’s operator expires. The quasi-public CRRA board voted last week to approve the money for a series of studies assessing the wisdom of buying the (Wallingford) plant from Covanta of New Jersey, which operates the facility. (NHR, by Luther Turmelle)

And now a crash course for those of you who don't know the organizational chart of CTs trash disposal industry (cue the Galante/Wallinger jokes!):

- The state created CRRA, a quasi-governmental governing / managing body. It "governs / manages" waste disposal facilities around the state.

- For the 169 municipalities, there are between 5 and 10 waste disposal facilities. Some of the facilities serve dozens of towns. And Cheshire happens to be in a consortium that is unusually small and serves only five towns: Wallingford, Cheshire, Hamden, North Haven and Meriden.

- The facility is governed by its Board. Each of the five towns has one seat on the Board. Cheshire is officially represented by the Town Manager.

- The Board is represented by CRRA management, but CRRA does not manage the facility. The facility is managed by an international "
waste to energy / energy from waste" company named Covanta.

Or at least that's my limited (and perhaps flawed) understanding of the organizational makeup that disposes of our waste.

As for whether there are options other than Covanta... yes, there are.

When I was at the renewable energy conference in Washington in March, I learned of several of their competitors. I happened to strike up a conversation with a representative of Solena Group. And that's not intended as a plug for Solena... I have no idea if they do good work, though their rep seemed knowledgable. I'm just offering up some info on the industry, noting that there are a number of "E2W" companies out there.

What really interested me though was learning that today's E2W technology is not the E2W technology from when our Wallingford-based plant was built 20 years ago. Today's E2W technology is a whole new generation which, I was told, is far more efficient in generating electricity and produces much less waste byproduct.

I'd love to see some consideration of a new, more efficient facility (the consortium has $34million in the bank, built up over the past 20 years), but doubt it will happen. Maybe something could happen though when the facility's life is officially coming to an end?

Tim White
Town Council, Solid Waste Committee

No comments: