April 20, 2011 – N.C. regulators have granted most of ReVenture Park’s request to declare yard waste and other material the development intends to use in a waste-to-energy plant as renewable energy source under state law.
The ruling Monday by the N.C. Utilities Commission clears the way for ReVenture to sell biomass-produced electricity and renewable-energy credits to Duke Energy Carolinas for resale to Duke customers. Duke (NYSE: DUK) is the dominant utility provider in the Triad, employing nearly 900 in the region.
The commission also ruled that the power produced by the 20-megawatt biomass plant ReVenture is building will qualify for triple renewable-energy credits.
A law passed by the General Assembly last year allows the first 20 megawatts of power from the plant to qualify for triple credits. The law allows the additional credits available from the tripling to be used to meet state requirements that utilities produce some of their renewable energy from chicken waste.
Because utilities have had trouble finding what they consider a reasonable source of power from chicken waste, the law makes ReVenture a more attractive source of power for N.C. utilities.
Forsite Development, ReVenture’s parent company, will build the $160 million plant at a 667-acre Superfund site west of Charlotte. ReVenture intends to use waste from Mecklenburg County’s compost facility and municipal solid waste from Mecklenburg garbage collections to produce a synthetic gas to fuel biomass plant.
The company says some of the solid waste won’t be a biomass material, but that amount can be determined by testing, and the percentage of ReVenture’s fuel that is not a biomass material will not count as a renewable resource.
The commission declined to rule on some parts of ReVenture’s request for a declaratory ruling on what qualified as renewable energy sources and what qualified for renewable credits. But the order essentially gives ReVenture all that it asked for.
The Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League opposed the ruling that ReVenture sought. The group contended the legislators did not intend to make municipal waste – whether yard waste or garbage – a renewable resource when it passed a renewableenergy law in 2007. The law requires utilities to produce 12.5% of the power they sell from renewable resources by 2021.
The league argued the law was aimed at promoting renewables such as wind and solar power. It contends the biomass plant ultimately depends on burning a gas and does not qualify.
The commission rejected the league’s contention