Saturday, June 15, 2013

Throw It Out And It Powers Your Home: Puerto Rico Turns To Garbage For Renewable Energy

Throw It Out And It Powers Your Home: Puerto Rico Turns To Garbage For Renewable Energy

By Matt Kasper, Guest Blogger on Jun 13, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Puerto Ricans will soon be turning their trash into renewable energy. On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced its final approval of an air permit for a 77 megawatt EfW plant, owned by Energy Answers International, a first for the U.S. island territory.

The $650 million facility, which will be built in three years in the town of Arecibo, will create thousands of direct and indirect induced jobs, and turn more than 2,100 tons of garbage a day into renewable electricity for more than 76,000 homes on the island. Creating domestic renewable energy is a major necessity since Puerto Rico’selectricity is overwhelmingly derived from imported petroleum, natural gas, and coal.
Six public hearing sessions were held since May 2012, and over 3,000 public comments had been reviewed by the EPA. And while the comment period is open for this issued permit, Energy Answers has gone through a long and rigorous review process and there should be no objections that delay the project from moving forward.

Here are five reasons why energy from waste is a great opportunity for Puerto Rico and the rest of the United States:

Energy from waste reduces greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change

According to the EPA, for every ton of garbage processed at an EfW facility, approximately one ton of emitted carbon-dioxide equivalent in the atmosphere is prevented. This is because the trash burned at an EfW facility doesn’t generate methane, as it would at a landfill; the metals that would have been sent to the landfill are recycled instead of thrown out; and the electricity generated offsets the greenhouse gases that would otherwise have been generated from coal and natural gas plants.

Furthermore, EPA scientists concluded that sending waste to EfW facilities is the better than sending to garbage landfills with optimum conditions for capturing methane and turning it into electricity because these landfills will generate two to six times more greenhouse gases than EfW plants.

Energy from waste increases recycling rates

Communities can have both EfW and recycling strategies that are compatible. In fact, communities using EfW technology have an aggregate recycling rate above the national average. A 2009 study examined EfW facilities in the U.S. and found that communities using EfW have a 33 percent recycling rate. Puerto Rico currently has an 11 percent recycling rate. It is important to note then that the EfW facility in Arecibo will be the island’s largest recycling plant.

Comment by Anumakonda Jagadeesh

Wealth from Waste and CASH FROM TRASH should be our motto in keeping the surroundings and habitat clean.

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