MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The potential closure of a trash incinerator and metal recovery facility could send tons of extra waste to the Twin Cities’ landfills.
Great River Energy plans to close its Elk River waste-to-energy operation early next year if the company can’t sell the facility, The Star Tribune reported . Anoka and Hennepin county commissioners said they’re reluctant to take over the project that’s had trouble staying afloat.
“As much as anybody, I would love to see the plant stay in operation and do the environmentally responsible thing and avoid landfills,” said Anoka County Commissioner Jim Kordiak. “But there are too many pitfalls.”
Wholesale electricity prices are low and subsidies the incinerator previously relied on have disappeared, making it difficult for the facility to earn enough from the electricity it generates or attract enough garbage to stay viable, said Tim Steinbeck, Great River Energy’s director of resource recovery.
“We’re hoping others step up and want to keep it going,” Steinbeck said, noting that some private parties have expressed interest.
State environmental officials prefer burning refuse that can’t be recycled or composted instead of burying it. But trash incinerators that serve the area are already operating at capacity so trash haulers will have few alternatives to landfills, according to officials.
Four area landfills will likely reach capacity in six years if the Great River Energy burner is shuttered, which is two years earlier than anticipated, according to state regulators. Landfills will likely seek permission from the state to add additional space in the coming years.
Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com
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