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New York Seeks Waste to Energy Proposals

New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg has launched a Request for Proposals to build a waste to energy facility.

Private sector firms have been asked to submit plans for a pilot facility using reliable, cost-effective, sustainable and environmentally sound waste to energy technology, which will help the City meet its goal of doubling the amount of waste diverted from landfills, as Bloomberg committed to doing in his State of the City speech.

According to the request the facility must be located in New York City or within 80 miles of the city and begin by processing a maximum of 450 tonnes of waste per day – the City currently processes approximately 10,000 tonnes of waste per day.

The City will not provide any capital funding for the proposed facility and will pay a per tonne fee to the operator of the facility.

Furthermore, the proposal is seeking the cleanest and most modern waste to energy technologies, and specifically excludes conventional incineration or “mass burn” proposals.

“New Yorkers generate more than 10,000 tonnes of solid waste every day and too much of it ends up in landfills. Using less, and recycling more are the most effective ways to address the problem, but this project will help us determine if some of that waste can be converted to safe, clean energy to meet the City’s growing power needs,” explained Mayor Bloomberg.

Companies wishing to submit a proposal will be required to provide detailed environmental data, including extensive emissions performance data and greenhouse gas reduction data. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will evaluate all emissions data.

Environmental justice

According to a statement from the Mayor’s office, the selection of a clean conversion technology facility will follow the environmental justice approach established in the City’s Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan, by ensuring borough equity in the siting of solid waste infrastructure.

As such, the City said that proposals must include a Public Participation Plan with “meaningful opportunities” for public involvement throughout the planning, approval, implementation, construction, testing and operation phases of the facility.

Proposals also must include information regarding the location of municipal and solid waste management facilities and pollution sources in the vicinity of the site.

The City said that siting, construction and operation of the conversion facility will undergo extensive environmental and community oversight, including a City Environmental Quality Review and State Environmental Quality Review, as well as approvals from the State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Waste reduction plan and  PlaNYC

New York’s Department of Sanitation currently collects more than 3 million tonnes of waste per year from residences and institutions and spends more than $300 million to export – primarily via truck traffic – the waste to landfills and facilities outside the of the city.

Furthermore, the City said that residential and institutional solid waste creates 728,000 metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually, much of which is attributable to methane generation from landfills that receive its waste.

According to the mayor the new Waste Reduction Plan will double the amount of waste the City diverts from landfills from 15% to 30% by 2017.

The Plan contains a variety of initiatives to increase waste diversion, with two-thirds of these gains to come from increased waste reduction, reuse, composting and recycling initiatives, including the future expansion of the City’s kurbside recycling program to additional plastics, expanding the number of public space recycling bins on City streets and providing new locations for residents to compost food waste.

Proposals to build and operate the conversion facility are due by June 5, 2012. If the initial pilot is successful, the facility will be expanded to process 900 tonnes of waste per day.

The City will evaluate proposals based on the company’s experience with the proposed technology, the quality of their technical proposal and environmental compliance data and the commitment to environmental justice and community outreach plans.

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