Weekly News Bulletin: Nov. 16-22, 2010


Gates Foundation Increases Holdings in Waste Management

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is buying more shares of Waste Management. It has added roughly two million shares of the company in the third quarter, raising its stake to 17.6 million shares from 15.7 million shares at the end of the second quarter. About a year ago, the foundation which is the world's largest private philanthropic fund, doubled its holding in Houston, Texas-based Waste Management to 15.7 million shares, from a previous position of 7.8 million shares. Bill Gates also holds 55 million shares of number two ranked Republic Services representing a sizeable 15% stake through his personal investment vehicle Cascade Investment LLC. The foundation holds about 1.3 million shares of Republic. Bill Gates and his good friend Warren Buffet have been attracted to the waste industry's top players for being well managed, cash flow generating enterprises sitting atop irreplaceable landfill assets while their shares are selling at a discount to the companies' estimated intrinsic value...Read More »



Fulcrum Gets $120 Million DOE Loan for Waste-to-Ethanol Plant near Reno

Officials with Fulcrum BioEnery Inc. (Pleasanton, CA) announced that the U.S. Department of Energy agreed to move ahead with the final phase of a loan guarantee needed to begin construction of its planned $120 million biofuels plant near Reno. By 2012, its Sierra BioFuels Plant is expected to produce 10.5 million gallons of ethanol along with 16 megawatts of electricity annually by processing post-recovery municipal solid waste. The plant is the first of several that the company is developing throughout North America that will collectively produce one billion gallons of ethanol per year once completed...Read More »



ReEnergy to Buy 31 MW Connecticut Tire-to-Energy Facility

ReEnergy Holdings LLC (Latham NY) has agreed to acquire the 31-megawatt Exeter Tire-to-Energy Facility in Sterling, CT from a subsidiary of CMS Enterprises; based in Jackson MI. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The facility has operated continuously since 1991 burning scrap tires for energy. "Our acquisition of and subsequent investment in the Exeter Facility is consistent with ReEnergy's strategy of acquiring select energy assets that convert biomass and waste fuels into renewable energy," said Larry Richardson, CEO of ReEnergy Holdings. ReEnergy is led by a team of waste-to-energy industry veterans. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals from FERC and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection...Read More »



EPA Issues Guidelines for States' GHG Permitting of Large Emitters

The US EPA has released a guidance document that instructs state and local officials how to issue permits for power plants, refineries and other large stationary sources of greenhouse gases (GHGs) once new climate rules take effect next year. The 97-page document is designed to help regulators identify cost-effective options for controlling GHGs under the Clean Air Act's tailoring rule that applies to large industrial sources announced last spring. "EPA is working closely with its partners at the state and local levels to ensure permitting for greenhouse gases runs smoothly," said Gina McCarthy, the agency's assistant administrator for air and radiation. "To identify GHG options, EPA and the states are now ready to apply the same time-tested process they have used for other pollutants." Industry groups had worried that the agency would require facilities to use costly carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology to trap carbon dioxide and store it underground, but EPA's guidance suggests otherwise. "While CCS is a promising technology, EPA does not believe that at this time CCS will be a technically feasible [best available control technology, or BACT] option in certain cases," EPA writes...Read More »



Commerce Department Predicts Huge Job Losses from EPA Boiler Rule

New analysis by the Department of Commerce (DOC) predicts many more job losses from EPA's air toxics rule for boilers than EPA predicted in its proposed version of the rule, raising stakes in the battle between the agency and industry critics who charge the rule will shut down facilities and hurt the economy. DOC's independent analysis of the economic impact of EPA's proposal to set national emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) for boilers projects job losses of 40,000 to 60,000 per year and predicts a decline in the international competitiveness of U.S. goods, even using EPA's conservative cost estimates. By contrast, EPA's June 4 proposal says the agency is not certain whether the rule will lead to job losses from facility closures and lower production, or whether it will lead to job gains from additional labor required for pollution abatement...Read More »



Palm Beach County FL to Issue $700 Million in Bonds for New Incinerator

The Palm Beach County Florida Solid Waste Authority plans to issue $700 million in bonds to pay for a new 3,000 ton-per-day waste-to-energy plant. County Commissioners approved the project last February at which time the authority began seeking proposals to build and operate the plant. In August however, the Commissioners decided to abandon three proposals it had received and rewrite the project's requirements after its consulting firm Malcolm Pirnie met with the state's Department of Environmental Protection who indicated that newer pollution control technology would be needed to win the state's approval. Nonetheless, the authority is pushing ahead with the bond issue in order to save as much as $40 million in dept expense over the next twenty years. If issued this year, the bonds would be exempt from the alternative minimum tax. The waste-to-energy plant would augment the county's landfill and extend its life until 2040...Read More »



Iberdrola Renovables Starts Construction of 29 MW Biomass Co-gen Plant

Spanish renewable energy firm Iberdrola Renovables has begun constructing a 26.8 megawatt forestry biomass cogeneration power plant in eastern Oregon, its first such project in the US. The facility, called the Lakeview Plant, is located in rural Lake County near major transmission lines and is expected to be up and running by the end of 2012. Iberdola hopes that the project will serve as a model for other US projects. The company is already operating a similar plant in Guadalajara, Mexico and another in central Spain. Iberdola is the second largest wind energy company in the US, with an installed capacity of 4,314 MW among 47 wind farms in 23 states...Read More »



Waste Management Launches New Food & Organic Recycling Technology

Waste Management (Houston, TX) has launched a first-of-its-kind new Food and Organic Recycling Facility in Orange County, CA. The new facility, located at an existing company transfer and processing facility in Orange, will process food and organics collected from local businesses, for conversion into a material that can be used as a source of energy. The process employs a specially designed bio-separator that removes contaminates from organic waste, which is then transformed into a slurry that can be mixed with other complementary liquids to maximize its use in creating green energy. The California waste department (CalRecycle) estimates that food waste accounts for nearly 16 percent of the overall waste stream in California, over 6 million tons per year...Read More »



Court Rejects LA Petition to Send Sludge to Kern County, CA

Kern County, CA won a 4-year-old federal court battle with the City of Los Angeles over the county's right to ban land application of sewage sludge under a voter approved initiative. Los Angeles' petition aimed to invalidate the Kern County law known as Measure E, which was approved in 2006 to block shipments from Southern California of more than 450,000 tons a year of treated biosolids to a farm the city bought in 1999 for about $15 million. The city challenged Measure E on the grounds that it interfered with interstate commerce but last summer, the US Supreme Court declined to comment, letting stand a previous 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that the city and its allies, including the Orange County Sanitation District, lacked standing to sue under the commerce clause because the case involved transfers of a commodity from one portion of the state to another. The case was then sent back to Los Angeles U.S. District Court Judge Gary A. Feess who this week said Los Angeles' two remaining legal arguments -- that Kern County overstepped its police powers and violated the intentions of the California Integrated Waste Management Act -- do not belong in federal court...Read More »



Veolia Profit Rises 2.5% as Waste Treatment Improves

French utility giant Veolia Environnement SA posted a 3.5% increase in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, for the first nine months of the year, due to higher recycled commodity prices and a modest recovery in waste volumes. Revenue for the period grew a modest 0.8% to EUR 25.47 billion from EUR 25.25 billion a year earlier. Revenue for its waste division grew 6.3% to EUR 7.20 billion from EUR 6.78 billion a year earlier due to higher recycled materials prices and higher volumes in France, Germany and even North America, while revenue for the energy division grew 4.1% to EUR 4.98 billion from EUR 4.79 billion a year earlier. Chief Financial Officer Pierre-Francois Riolacci said that waste division performance reflects stronger industrial production in key markets, such as France and Germany, while the U.S. and the U.K. waste markets were still sluggish. Veolia, the world's largest water and waste utility in terms of sales, maintained its full-year objectives of an improvement in recurring operating profit, positive cash-flow after dividend payment and EUR 250 million in cost reductions for 2010. The group, which has planned EUR 3 billion worth of divestments between 2009 and 2011, said that since the start of the year, it divested EUR 847 million worth of assets. Net financial debt at the end of September was EUR 15.77 billion...Read More »



EPA Drafting Guidance on Recycling Construction & Demolition Wastes

The EPA is planning to release its final draft guidance for the recovery and recycling of drywall and wood during construction and demolition of buildings in an attempt to reduce the amount of the materials ending up in landfills. The "Construction and Demolition Materials Recovery Road Map" action plan is the result of more than a year of work by the agency and a stakeholder workgroup and stems from initiatives outlined in the 2009 "Sustainable Materials Management: The Road Ahead" report, which shifts EPA's focus away from waste management and toward a life-cycle approach to product disposal.

Waste Business Journal estimates that the US generated about 104 million tons of C&D waste in 2010, down from 114.6 mil. tons in 2009...Read More »



IESI-BFC Appoints New President and Chief Operating Officer

IESI-BFC Ltd. (Toronto, ON) has promoted Joe Quarin to President and Chief Operating Officer effective immediately. He replaces current COO, Mickey Flood, who will become a Vice Chairman of the Company and IESI Corporation, IESI-BFC Ltd.'s U.S. subsidiary. The company says that his appointment is the result of a comprehensive succession planning process led by the Company's Board of Directors to ensure a smooth transition of operational responsibilities within the organization. Quarin had been the Company's Executive Vice President having served with the company since its inception in 2000. He has an M.B.A. from the Richard Ivey School of Business and a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Queen's University...Read More »



BlueFire Renewables Gets Permits to Build Miss. Waste-to-Ethanol Plant

BlueFire Renewables, formerly BlueFire Ethanol Fuels Inc. said it has received all necessary permits to begin construction of its waste-to-ethanol facility in Fulton, Mississippi. The company received final permits for the project, including air, wastewater and storm water permits from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). The plant will process wood chips, forest residual chips, pre-commercial thinnings and urban wood waste and manufactured wood waste from furniture production to produce 19 million gallons (72 million litres) of ethanol per year. In September, the company announced that it had secured a feedstock supply from US wood chip producer Cooper Marine & Timberlands Corp (CMT) for a 15-year period while also striking a 15-year deal to sell all ethanol produced at the facility to biofuel trader Tenaska Biofuels LLC...Read More »



Industrial Services of America Posts Lower 3Q Profit

Industrial Services of America Inc. (Louisville, KY) reported that net income for the third quarter fell 13.6 percent. Nonetheless, "our alloys, ferrous and non-ferrous divisions all performed solidly during the quarter," said company Chairman Harry Kletter. "Scrap recycling is not a monthly or quarterly business," he said. "We buy and sell scrap in response to customer orders, but we can't predict the timing. Sometimes we have firm orders that don't ship until the following quarter. But we have grown our business every year, and 2010 is no different." Net income for the quarter fell to $1.9 million, or $0.28 per share, from $2.2 million, or $0.37 per share. Revenue fell 4 percent to $76.6 million. ISA buys, processes and markets metals and other recyclable commodities and offers programs and equipment to help businesses manage wastes...Read More »



DTE Energy to Buy Big Share in 50 MW Coal-Fired Power Plant to Convert to Biomass

DTE Energy Services (Ann Arbor, MI) said it is acquiring a significant share in a 49.5 megawatt coal-fired power plant in California with the idea to convert it run on 100% biomass fuel. DTE is buying its stake in the Mt. Poso Cogeneration Company facility from owners Red Hawk Energy and Northern Star Generation. The third partner in the plant, MacPherson Oil, intends to continue its ownership and management interest in the facility. The plant, which has operated since 1989, uses a blend of coal, coke and waste tires to generate energy, but DTE intends to convert the facility to use urban wood waste, tree trimmings and agricultural residues. It is expected to be complete in 2012. As a biomass facility, it would produce about 44MW of power, DTE said, enough electricity to supply about 35,000 homes. Power is to be sold to California utility PG&E under a long-term power purchase agreement. DTE has completed a similar biomass conversion in Cassville, WI, and has another under way in Stockton, CA. It also operates biomass power plants in Woodland, CA. and Mobile, AL...Read More »



Large Landfill for Sale in Arizona

WIH Resource Group announced the availability of a landfill for sale that serves the Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona markets. The fully permitted RCRA Subtitle D Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) landfill sits on an 850 acre parcel surrounded by State and Federal lands, 450 acres of which are zoned and approved for landfill development. The landfill, which has been designed to maximize airspace, has a total capacity of 65 million tons which gives it an estimated 50 year useful life based on current volumes of 1,500 tons per day, giving it the potential to generate revenues in excess of $1.6 billion. The current landfill owners are interested in an outright sale of the landfill and will also consider equity investors...Read More »



UNC and Orange County Open Landfill Gas-to-Energy Project

The University of North Carolina (UNC) and Orange County are launching a landfill gas-to-energy project that will utilize methane gas from the county landfill to provide electricity to power a complex of buildings at the University. The first phase of the construction project, the installation of the gas-collection and flaring system, will be completed by July 2011. Officials expect to begin piping the landfill gas to a generator for producing electricity by April 2012...Read More »



Avalon Holdings Posts Narrower 3Q Loss on Improving Sales

Avalon Holdings, which provides waste management services to customers in selected northeastern and Midwest markets posted a narrower loss for the third quarter on improved revenues. For the first nine months of 2010, net operating revenues increased to $32.2 million from $26.8 million for the same period in 2009. The company incurred a net loss of $600,000, or ($0.16) per share, compared with a net loss of $700,000, or ($0.18) per share for the prior year period. "In the third quarter of 2010, we continued to show improvement in several of our key financial metrics," said Steven M. Berry, president and CEO. "Revenues of the waste management services segment increased by $2 million or 32%, compared with the same quarter in 2009. Although the net results were about the same for both quarters, the third quarter of 2010 included approximately $100,000 of non-recurring maintenance expenses at the corporate headquarters building," he said...Read More »


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