[GRRN] Incinerators Promoted in MN as Renewable Resource Facilities

Bill Sheehan (zerowaste@grrn.org)
Sun, 10 Oct 1999 23:51:41 -0400

[Forwarded msg. This is a section from a draft OEA report
on the future of Minnesota's solid waste system.]

* Waste as a Renewable Resource

Listing waste as a renewable energy source should be
considered as a method to assist resource recovery in
Minnesota. Energy revenues are an important part of the
financial viability of solid waste energy recovery
facilities. The electric utility industry deregulation could
dramatically impact Minnesota's resource recovery
infrastructure. The state may want to support federal and
state laws and policies regarding utility deregulation that
includes waste in the definitions of renewable energy
sources. In addition, more research needs to be done as to
whether the renewables' policy is the optimum means to
support resource recovery with energy production. This
will also allow research and discussion of policy options
that support MSW composting as well.

More research is needed regarding the definition of
renewable energy and the implications for expanding the
definition. Is RDF and WTE a good fit under federal and
state renewable definitions? How will inclusion of the
renewable definition help processing? Moreover, all
parties, public and private, must look to the future. OEA
waste projections show the potential for large volumes of
MSW to be generated. The planning must begin now for
future solid waste abatement system needs. This planning
must incorporate local economic and sustainable
considerations, with preference given to waste and
toxicity reduction, reuse, recycling and composting
practices. These methods, however, may not be sufficient
to manage the growing MSW stream. This, coupled with
the considerable lead-time required to develop and
finance resource recovery facilities, means that every
option must be considered, including the possible need
for new resource recovery facilities.