Weekly News Bulletin: Dec. 7-13, 2010


Marion Iowa Plans $104 Million Plasma Waste-to-Energy Plant

Construction of a $100 million plasma waste-to-energy power plant in Marion, Iowa could begin as early as spring, and operating before the end of 2012, according to a report in The Gazette. The City selected Plasma Power LLC (Fort Lauderdale, FL), as a partner in building the plant, which will be designed to burn up to 250 tons per day of solid waste otherwise destined for the nearby Bluestem #2 Landfill, which currently accepts about 600 tons of waste per day. Plasma Power president and CEO Jim Juranitch said that he believes that the plant could generate between 47 and 62 MW of electricity and will cost between $104 million and $172 million to build. According to his calculus, the capital cost of a 47 MW plasma plant would be $2,255 per kW and a 62 MW plant would cost $2,766 per kW. By comparison, electricity from a new wood gasification plant would cost $3,048 per kW. According to Juranitch, a 25 MW plasma renewable energy project being developed by Alliance Federated Energy (AFE) in Milwaukee, WI has a projected cost of $9,000 per kW. The Milwaukee plant, dubbed Project Apollo, was announced Sep. 7 and has an estimated $225 million development cost...Read More »



Taylor Biomass Breaks Ground on $134 Million Energy Project

Taylor Biomass Energy has broken ground on a $134 million biomass waste-to-energy plant in Montgomery, NY, following approval of the Town Board. That approval comes at the 11th hour as the company faces a Dec. 31 deadline to qualify for US Department of Energy (DOE) clean energy grants of about $30 million and a $100 million federal loan guarantee made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Taylor has also signed a $2.4 million-a-year deal with the Port of Authority of New York and New Jersey which is buying renewable energy credits from the company. The plant is expected to generate enough electricity to power 20,000 households. Jim Taylor, president and CEO of Taylor Biomass Energy, said in a press release that "Our project addresses the growing issue of solid-waste management and over-capacity landfills across America - and it creates renewable energy at the same time. We think it's really a model for other urban areas to follow."...Read More »



Casella Posts Better-than-Expected 2Q Results on Higher Volume

Casella Waste Systems (Rutland, VT) posted a surprisingly strong second quarter where a 16 percent increase in landfill volumes and higher recycled commodity prices contributed to a 6 percent increase in revenue and a narrower loss. For the quarter ended Oct. 31, Casella posted a loss of $1.2 million, or $0.04 per share, compared to a year-earlier loss of $1.6 million, or $0.06 per share. Revenue increased 5.9% to $141 million. While core pricing was flat, waste volumes continued to show signs of stabilization in the landfill and collection sides of the business; however, construction and demolition volumes continued to suffer from waning demand. Going forward, management believes the company can increase core pricing roughly 50 basis points above CPI by the end of the year...Read More »



Macquarie Buys Two Landfill Gas-To-Energy Plants for $25 million

Macquarie Infrastructure Partners II, a New York City-based investment fund, has completed its purchase of two landfill gas-to-energy projects in California and Rhode Island for $25 million from Ridgewood Renewable Power LLC (Ridgewood, NJ). The acquired facilities are located at the Olinda Alpha Landfill in California and the Central Landfill in Johnston, RI and have a combined generating capacity of 26 megawatts. Henceforth, they will be operated by Broadrock Biopower I LLC, an affiliate of Macquarie. According to a Form 8-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Nov. 19, the Providence Project was acquired for $17.5 million while the Olinda Project fetched $7.5 million. As part of the transaction, MIP II arranged financing for the further expansion of both facilities to 77.8 MW gross and 70.3 MW net, respectively. "Macquarie has long been active in the renewable energy infrastructure sector and currently manages investments in over 20 projects globally," said MIP II CEO Christopher Leslie. "Renewable assets are stable, attractive investments and display the very investment characteristics we seek for our portfolio."...Read More »



EPA Asks Court for More Time on Boiler and Incinerator Rules

Under intensifying fire from industry, the US EPA has asked a federal court for more time to finalize its regulation of emissions from boilers and solid waste incinerators. The EPA said it asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for permission to issue the rules by April 2012. Currently, it is under a court order to issue the rules by next month. Recent analysis earlier this month by the Department of Commerce (DOC) predicts job losses of 40,000 to 60,000 per year stemming from prohibitively high costs of compliance with the rule as proposed. The DOC report said facility closures and a decline in the international competitiveness of U.S. goods would be responsible. The boiler rule, which is intended to cut emissions of mercury, soot and other pollutants that it says are linked with developmental disabilities in children, asthma, and heart attacks, sets maximum achievable control technology (MACT) requirements to reduce air toxics emissions from boilers that are large enough to qualify as "major sources" of air toxics as required under the Clean Air Act. The boiler MACT proposal is part of a suite of rules to control emissions from boilers, including an air toxics rule for smaller "area" sources of emissions, an air toxics rule for incinerators, and rule that defines solid waste to determine whether sources are subject to boiler rules or more-stringent incinerator rules. Following complaints from members of Congress as well as several industry groups, the EPA recently offered concessions including "subcategorizing" boilers to a set of varying air toxics standards depending on the type of boiler.

The EPA had proposed the regulations in April 2010, and said that comments it received "shed new light on a number of key areas." As a result, "it is appropriate to issue a revised proposal" the EPA said...Read More »



EPA Considers GHG Rules as Economic Forces Mount Against Biomass

Industry is turning up the pressure on EPA to declare greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from biomass carbon neutral especially as low energy prices and rising feedstock costs undermine the economic viability of energy from biomass which has led developers to cancel several proposed projects. On Nov. 30 Xcel Energy announced that it is canceling plans to install biomass gasification technology at its Ashland, WI, plant "due to the significant increase in the estimated costs, declining costs of other generation options and considerable regulatory uncertainty at the state and federal level." On Nov. 17 FirstEnergy Corp. said it would shut down two of its coal-fired units in Ohio rather than convert them to 80 percent biomass by 2013, as previously planned, due to economic concerns. In a statement announcing the cancellation, FirstEnergy said, "Despite our best efforts, we were unable to overcome the challenges of the difficult economy to cost-effectively repower the Burger plant to burn biomass." Last July, a Portuguese company - Martifer Renewables, withdrew a license application for a 106.8 megawatt hybrid biomass-solar plant in California noting in a June letter to the California Energy Commission, "We were not able at this time to resolve some of our issues regarding project economics and biomass supply, among other things."

The cancellations of these biomass projects come as EPA weighs whether to exempt biomass facilities from new GHG permitting rules and, separately, whether to consider biomass as best available control technology (BACT) under those same permitting rules...Read More »



Covanta Closes on Its Public Offering of $400 Million Notes Due 2020

Covanta Holding Corp. (Fairfield, NJ) announced the closing of its public offering of $400 million aggregate principal amount of 7.250% senior notes due 2020. The company plans to allocate a portion of the offering to fund its tender offer for its outstanding 1.00% Senior Convertible Debentures due 2027, of which there is about $373.7 million aggregate principal amount outstanding. Any remaining net proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, BofA Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital Inc. and Citigroup Global Markets Inc. acted as joint bookrunning managers in the offering...Read More »



Advanced Disposal Opens New 300-Acre Landfill near Mobile, AL

Advanced Disposal Services (Jacksonville, FL) has opened a new 300-acre municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill in Citronelle, AL, about 30 miles north of Mobile. The company received a letter from Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) this week to commence operations at Turkey Trot Landfill which is permitted to receive up to 4,000 tons of waste per day. In addition to discounted disposal rates, Washington County will receive a host fee from Advanced Disposal. "We're thrilled to finally be open for business," said Gerald Allen, vice president of landfills for Advanced Disposal, in a press release. "We look forward to Turkey Trot Landfill becoming a vital contributor to the financial well-being of Washington County."

During the construction of the landfill last June, workers discovered a large colony of gopher tortoises, a federally protected species living on the site. Through a partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and ADEM, the animals were relocated to a new habitat about 30 miles away...Read More »


Sign up to receive our free Weekly News Bulletin