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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: June 29, 2015 10:56 AM
From: Senator Scott Wagner
To: All Senate members
Subject: Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards - Municipal Waste-to-Energy
I intend to introduce legislation amending the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) Act to designate municipal waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities as Tier I alternative energy sources.

Currently, WTE facilities are classified as Tier II, while landfill gas, biomass, coal methane and a number of other technologies are Tier I. According to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the average price per credit over the past few years has been substantially different from tier to tier. The latest figures for 2013-14 show a weighted average price for Tier I credits is $9.78 and for Tier II $0.13. This puts the Commonwealth’s six WTE facilities (York, Lancaster, Montgomery, Delaware, Dauphin, and Bucks) at a major disadvantage. My legislation would bring all of these technologies in line, allowing equal competition in the marketplace.

WTE facilities generate clean, base-load renewable electricity by using municipal solid waste, after recycling efforts, as the fuel source. WTE meets the two basic criteria for establishing what a renewable energy resource is - its fuel source (trash) is sustainable and indigenous.

When compared to landfill gas, the average existing WTE facility generates nine times more power per ton of waste while the newest facilities can generate as much as fourteen times more power using the same fuel. Should Tier 1 compliance requirements be increased for electric distribution companies, as proposed by House Bill 100, WTE facilities would be able to fill the resulting increased demand.

Considering the nature of my private business, I feel it is important to note that I would in no way benefit from this change in the law. As I mentioned above, one of these WTE facilities is located in York. The York County Resource Recovery Facility, which is owned and operated by the York County Solid Waste Authority, began operating in 1989 and serves the municipal waste disposal needs of the nearly 435,000 county residents.

The York facility processes 1,344 tons of municipal solid waste per day, generating 38.1 megawatts of renewable electricity or enough to power 20,000 homes. They also employ more than 50 people with a payroll of $5.7 million. Together our 6 WTEs have a combined capacity of 268.5 MW, employ more than 350 people, and have a payroll of $35 million.

I hope you will join me in co-sponsoring this legislation that will allow our WTE facilities to compete in the alternative energy marketplace, while ensuring long-term viability of our municipal solid waste management systems.

If you have any questions regarding this proposal, please contact Erin Marsicano at 717-787-3817 or emarsicano@pasen.gov.

Introduced as SB1035