Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Waste-to-energy Plant will Help Solve Ottawa’s Garbage Problem

A city committee added its support today to a project it hopes will help solve Ottawa’s garbage problem and provide electricity for local homes and businesses.

Ottawa's planning and economic development committee is recommending to council it give the green light for a full-scale waste-to-energy facility.

Concerns expressed by some councilors about what will happen if the plant, operated by businessman Rod Bryden’s company Plasco Energy Group, fails to meet environmental and financial standards. Southgate-Gloucester Coun. Steve Desroches, noted that a small facility built to test the process which vaporizes garbage and uses the heat to produce electricity for the local power grid, is still being tested at the Trail Road landfill site.

City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick said there is “zero financial risk” to the city and if Plasco doesn’t meet provincial ministry of the environment criteria the project won’t move ahead. He also said the city is continuing to explore alternative waste disposal technologies.

Kanata South Coun. Peggy Feltmate said although the city is currently reviewing its Integrated Waste Management Plan, she doesn’t feel it’s working fast enough to come up with solutions.

“I’m very concerned we have a bunch of balls in the air and don’t have a plan,” she said.

Bryden said because the plant is the first of its kind to be built in the world, it iss still working out a few bugs. But, he said it should meet all MoE guidelines by the time it expects to be in full-scale, $125-million-a-year operation in two years.

Kirkpatrick said he expects the city to fork over about $8 million a year to the company, but the cost will be offset by royalties and the revenue Plasco is expected to return to the city.

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