– by Darren Fishell, February 11, 2017, Bangor Daily News
Photo: Gabor Degre, Bangor Daily News
In January, two biomass generators tallied their first payments under a state subsidy program, taking in more than $241,000 from a $13.4 million pool of taxpayer dollars.
The Maine Public Utilities Commission last week published its first status report on disbursements from the fund that will go to ReEnergy’s Ashland and Fort Fairfield biomass generators and to the West Enfield and Jonesboro generators that Stored Solar has restarted after purchasing the facilities from Covanta last year.
– by Darren Fishell, January 27, 2017, Bangor Daily News
Photo: Gabor Degre
To keep their share of a $13.4 million bailout over the next two years, two Maine biomass plant operators have promised to keep 87 people employed, according to agreement details disclosed for the first time this week.
The bailout, which was sought by the logging industry after several paper mill and biomass plant closures, also promises to restore employment in the woods. In addition, the companies — ReEnergy and Stored Solar, which purchased two Covanta plants in Maine — will invest a combined $4.5 million into their plants.
– by Dick Lindsay, October 11, 2016, Berkshire Eagle
Covanta Pittsfield (Photo: Ben Garver/Berkshire Eagle)
For at least four more years, Covanta will take trash and recyclables of Pittsfield and surrounding communities.
By a vote of 10-1, Councilor-at-Large Melissa Mazzeo opposed, the City Council Tuesday night backed Mayor Linda Tyer’s request to give $562,000 in Pittsfield Economic Development funds so the solid waste-to-energy and recycling facility can make the necessary upgrades to meet state and federal environmental standards and remain profitable.
Covanta announced in early July that it planned to close the Hubbard Avenue trash burning plant because the high operating costs and the size of the plant made it unprofitable. Tyer and her administration immediately began working on a financial package to entice the New Jersey-based company to forgo its plan to cease operation in March.
– by David Chanen and Kelly Smith, September 16, 2016, Star Tribune
Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (Photo: Star Tribune)
The company that runs Hennepin County’s large garbage burner in downtown Minneapolis is suing the county, arguing it sabotaged negotiations over a new multimillion-dollar contract.
Covanta, which has run and managed the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC) for 27 years, filed the federal lawsuit Thursday. The move comes after the county accepted a proposed agreement from Maple Grove-based Great River Energy last month and gave Delaware-based Covanta a Sept. 22 deadline to agree to the terms or the Minnesota company would get the job.
What’s at stake is a 16-month contract for $25.5 million starting in 2018.
– by Carrie Arnold, August 1, 2016, Smithsonian
Municipal solid waste incinerator (Ole Poulsen)
Paul Gilman wants your trash.
Gilman isn’t a hoarder, and he maintains an admirable standard of personal cleanliness. But when he passes the dumpsters linked up at the end of driveways on trash day, filled with unwanted garbage to be taken to a landfill, all he sees is waste. To Gilman, chief sustainability officer at Covanta Energy, garbage represents an untapped and surprisingly clean source of energy.
The world is drowning in garbage. Between squalid dumps outside of slums, landfills tucked away into economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, and the tons of plastic endlessly circulating in the ocean, our trash is polluting every last nook and cranny of the planet. At the same time, humanity is using up the world’s fossil fuels at an ever faster clip, throwing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and depleting reserves of oil and coal. Gilman and advocates of waste-to-energy approaches believe that they can solve both problems simultaneously.
– by Adam Frenier, August 2, 2016, New England Public Radio
Covanta’s Pittsfield, MA trash incinerator (Adam Frenier/New England Public Radio)
Pittsfield city officials are trying to figure out their next step with the city’s trash incinerator poised to shut down in March. Covanta the operator of the waste-to-energy facility, says economic conditions are causing them to close the plant. This news has been met with applause by environmentalists and has sent at least one business scrambling.
The incinerator isn’t much on the eyes. It’s a gray, concrete building with several small chimneys on the roof and a large smoke stack next to it, the output of which you can see from a distance during the cold Berkshire winter. Along with commercial customers, Pittsfield trucks the garbage here that residents leave on their curb. And while it’s burned, steam is generated.
Much of it is piped eight-tenths of a mile just over the town line to Dalton, to Crane Paper.
Crane is the only maker of paper for US currency. During a recent tour, a turbine generating some of the electricity the factory needs screeches away. Most of the steam, though, is used in the paper-making process.
Rich Rowe, the head of Crane’s currency paper operation says if the Pittsfield trash incinerator does go off-line, the company will have to shell out several million dollars to buy a new boiler in order to generate steam. And going forward?
– by Peter Goonan, June 30, 2016, Springfield Republican
Photo: Springfield Republican
Trash picked up in Sixteen Acres apparently included a small amount of “short-lived radioactive” waste of medical origin, triggering alarms at the Covanta trash incinerator at Bondi’s Island in Agawam on Wednesday, according to the city.
Marian Sullivan, communications director of the mayor’s office, said Thursday in a prepared statement that the waste was apparently brought in by a city trash truck from the curbside collection in Sixteen Acres.
This is not the first time radioactive materials have triggered alarms at the waste-to-energy plant. Each time there is an alarm activation, it costs the city an additional $2,000 in regulatory fees, Sullivan said. She urged residents to be careful in their disposal of waste.
– by Stefanie Swinson, May 26, 2016, Durham Region
Photo: Ryan Pfeiffer / Metroland
Covanta has failed another stack test at the incinerator it operates in Courtice.
The joint committee of the Region of Durham heard results today from Mirka Januszkiewicz, the director of waste management, regarding the Durham York Energy Centre’s most recent tests conducted between May 2-11.
The lab results show air emissions from boiler 1 exceeded limits of dioxins and furans.
The limit is a maximum of 60. Boiler 1 was tested at 818.
“That’s a shocking number to hear,” said Regional and Clarington Councillor Joe Neal during the joint committee meeting. “This is very concerning. I thought it might be 80.”
– by Andy O’Brien, April 7, 2016, The Free Press
On March 31, 2018, it will no longer be economical for midcoast towns to send their household trash to the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. (PERC) incinerator in Orrington. That’s the date when the facility loses a lucrative energy contract to sell its electricity at above market rates. With PERC out of the picture, two nonprofits are bitterly competing for thousands of tons of midcoast waste.
In one corner is the Municipal Review Committee, a municipal cooperative serving PERC’s 187 user communities and governed by representatives of its member towns. After determining that PERC was too expensive to continue running, the MRC developed a proposal with Maryland-based fiber-to-fuel company Fiberight and waste-to-energy giant Covanta to build a $67 million waste-to-biogas processing plant in Hampden. Fiberight claims it will be able to convert 100 percent of the organic material in the waste stream into compressed natural gas by using an anaerobic digestion process. In order to secure financing for the project, it needs a commitment from at least 80 percent of PERC’s user municipalities.
– by Fred Bever, April 5, 2016, MPBN
With Maine’s legislative session heading to a close, lawmakers are struggling to find a way to assist the state’s at-risk biomass energy industry and the forestry jobs that depend on it. But some are looking to Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker to lend a helping hand.
A recent change in Massachusetts energy regulations is creating big problems for some of Maine’s commercial biomass energy generators. As of January, Massachusetts allows only biomass facilities that both create electricity and capture heat energy — so-called combined heat and power plants — to get extra payments that are awarded for energy from renewable resources.
Maine’s biomass industry was already challenged by its dependence on the spot market for wholesale electricity, which continues to provide very low prices driven by cheap power from natural gas. The added loss of those Massachusetts renewable energy credits contributed to the shutdown last week of one electricity-only biomass plant in Jonesboro, owned by Covanta Energy, which says it plans to shut down another facility in West Enfield.
Several weeks ago, Gov. Paul LePage made a personal plea to Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a fellow Republican, to change the rules and allow the Maine biomass generators to once again qualify for the Bay State’s renewable energy portfolio.