City officially seeking new trash alternatives, councillors warm to incineration

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Stephanie Kinsella, CFRA News

The City of Ottawa is officially on the hunt for a new type of technology that will keep residential garbage out of a landfill.

A Request for Information (RFI) was posted on on Monday "seeking information from potential providers of residual processing technologies (other than landfill) for the management of 109,500 tonnes post diversion residuals generated by or managed by the City...This RFI is intended to identify potential established or emerging technologies that could be used in the future to manage residual waste."

The city is now exploring options because Plasco Energy Group missed the December 31 deadline to prove it had the cash needed to build a new plant by 2016, which means the city can now get out of the deal without any penalty.

The company heats garbage at a high temperature and converts it to a form of electricity. The city and Plasco had a 20-year, $180 million deal in place, but the city would only pay for the waste that was actually converted. The company had previously been granted two other extensions.

Councillor David Chernushenko, who chairs city hall's environment committee, told CFRA's Rick Gibbons’ Homepage Plasco might have a role to play, but isn't necessarily the entire solution.

"That is also an option and that's one we will be considering, and that should be part of the debate. OK, let's randomly say (Plasco) can only take 80% of the waste they said they could? Or there is a certain kind of waste they found that was technologically hard to process. Well, what would happen if we took that out, if we went with what they can do? Where does that leave us in terms of trying to avoid ever having to find a replacement to the Trail Road (landfill)?"

Chernushenko, along with some other councillors, appear to be warming up to the idea of incineration.

"Well, they key thing is you know, this isn't your grandfather's incineration," he said. "This is modern waste-to-energy incineration. I’ve visited a plant in Sweden...they are very high tech, very efficient, very clean but very expensive to build."

City staff will present a report at the February 17 environment committee meeting on what ideas, if any, are received from other companies and the next steps in the partnership between Plasco and the city.

Council, Plasco at crossroads on waste project

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Council approves Plasco deal
Plasco Energy's Trail Rd. facility in Ottawa.

By Jon Willing, Ottawa Sun

If council pulls the plug on its partnership with Plasco Energy Group, it will burn 10 years of work trying to back a made-in-Ottawa solution to the world’s garbage problems.

But patience has clearly worn thin at City Hall.

Beacon Hill-Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney indicated he might present a motion to council this month to end the city’s relationship with Plasco, rather than waiting until a discussion scheduled for later in February.

“I think this council wants a clean slate,” Tierney said Monday.

Council’s environment committee will discuss the Plasco agreement Feb. 17.

The company has failed to show it has financing in place to build a commercial plant that meets the city’s requirements.

Capital Coun. David Chernushenko, chairman of the environment committee, said council should still listen to Plasco’s explanation, though he understands why some of his colleagues are frustrated.

“They were given a long and patient opportunity to show their technology could work and now we need to explore other options,” Chernushenko said.

“We have to treat them as one of other potential suitors.”

Council in February is also expected to see the results of a request for information from other innovative waste-processing companies.

The city posted the notice Monday and set a Feb. 5 deadline for responses.

Plasco doesn't meet 3rd financing deadline; city contract in question

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Waste-to-energy company had until Dec. 31, 2014, to come up with money for plant

 Plasco's contract to turn city waste into electricity can now be terminated after the company failed to meet its 3rd financing deadline this week.

Plasco's contract to turn city waste into electricity can now be terminated after the company failed to meet its 3rd financing deadline this week.

CBC News

The City of Ottawa could start the process of terminating its waste conversion contract with Plasco next month after the company missed its final deadline to provide plans for a waste-to-energy plant.

In a memo to council, city manager Kent Kirkpatrick said Plasco did not raise enough money to build a plant that would take residential waste and turn it into electricity by the New Year’s Eve deadline.

Plasco has missed such a deadline twice before and was granted an extension from the city both times.

This time, Kirkpatrick said, the city now has the option to terminate its 20-year, $180 million contract signed in 2012, a decision that is up to council.

“In light of the above-noted developments, a staff report will be tabled at the next Environment Committee meeting on February 17, 2015, on this matter,” Kirkpatrick said.

“The staff report will include the results of the Request for Expressions of Interest that Council directed staff to undertake if the December 31, 2014 deadline was not met, along with other information related to this decision and the contract.”

Chair doesn't want a new landfill

New environment committee chair David Chernushenko said last month if they do seek another option, it shouldn’t be another landfill.

"It would have to be a technological solution, likely some form of energy-from-waste solution. There are many,” he said.

“Plasco was one of them, and we would need to move very rapidly to exploring what others are out there.”

Plasco deal headed to the curb?

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Corey Laroque, Ottawa Sun

Some city councillors are looking at Plasco's failure to show them the money as a chance to scrap a controversial plan that never really got off the ground.

Plasco Energy Group missed a Dec. 31 deadline imposed by City Hall to prove it has the financing in place to build an garbage incinerator meant to address Ottawa's waste woes by burning household garbage and generating electricity.

Missing the deadline could be the out from the deal the city needs, said Coun. Jeff Leiper, one of the new faces on council.

"It's our option to make a clean break from this project," Leiper said Friday after receiving a memo from city manager Kent Kirkpatrick advising councillors that Plasco had missed the Dec. 31 deadline.

"I'm not confident this is ever going to come to fruition," said Leiper, a member of the environment committee which will take a crack at the issue Feb. 17.

Kirkpatrick wrote to Mayor Jim Watson and council members Friday advising them "(Plasco) did not satisfy the necessary requirements" in its agreement with the city.

The memo sets the stage for council to trash its agreement with Plasco.

Council had given the company a 60-day extension on Oct. 31 to provide city officials with "evidence of their capacity to fund or finance" the Ottawa Commercial Facility.

But that extended deadline passed Wednesday.