DEC letter rejecting incineration in renewable energy portfolio

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) rejects Covanta in its efforts to gain renewable energy standard credits for waste-to-energy incinerator operations.

Covanta Energy Corporation submitted its request to the NYDEC to modify the resources included in the Main Tier of New York's Renewable Portfolio Standard Program to include waste-to-energy (WTE) technology. In this document, the NYDEC rejects Covanta's request and concludes that WTE facilities do not fall under eligible electric generation sources.

The NYDEC notes that there is large concern over mercury emissions caused by WTE operations and that the emissions created by WTE plants are far greater than energy sources that do fall under the Main Tier and they even exceed that of coal-fired power plants. The NYDEC also refutes Covanta's argument that all greenhouse gas emissions from combustion of biogenic materials should be discounted in their emissions status.

The NYDEC also concludes that WTE technology has a main focus of waste management, not energy production, and that WTE causes much more mercury and NOx emissions than the equivalent energy produced by a coal-fired plant.