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Waste-to-energy plants a waste of energy, recycling advocates say
Erica Gies, International Herald Tribune
Promoters of waste-to-energy incinerators – plants that burn trash to generate electricity – praise the practice as renewable energy with a negative carbon footprint.
Nonrenewable materials, including plastic waste and used tires, account for 41 percent of U.S. trash, according to a report published in 2006 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, known as the EPA.
“To most people it sounds great,” said Linda Christopher, executive director of the GrassRoots Recycling Network, a U.S. environmental advocacy group. “It’s something that you don’t want, you put it in the incinerator, you get energy.”
Still, say Christopher and other activists, these materials are not so bountiful that society can afford to burn them.
… Trash has more economic value and a lighter impact on climate change when reused, recycled or composted than when incinerated or placed in a landfill. Burning valuable materials that could be recycled “wastes the life cycle energy of products to produce a small amount of energy,” Ciplet said.
(6 July 2008)
Renewable power’s growth in Colorado presages national debate
Peter Slevin, Washington Post
When Colorado voters were deciding whether to require that 10 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewable fuels, the state’s largest utility fought the proposal, warning that any shift from coal and natural gas would be costly, uncertain and unwise.
Then a funny thing happened. The ballot initiative passed, and Xcel Energy met the requirement eight years ahead of schedule. And at the government’s urging, its executives quickly agreed to double the target, to 20 percent.
In Colorado — a state historically known for natural gas and fights over drilling — wind and solar power are fast becoming prominent parts of the energy mix.
(18 August 2008)
Michael Vickerman on feed-in tariffs (audio)
Marc Strassman, Etopia News
RENEW Wisconsin Executive Director Michael Vickerman about that state’s governor’s task force’s recommendation of a feed-in tariff/advanced renewable tariff.
(15 August 2008)
Michael Vickerman and Marc Strassman are EB contributors.