Mar 252016



KEY LARGO – The Board of County Commissioners voted 4-1 to enter into a “no-risk” agreement on March 23 with Maryland-based Energy 3, LLC to process the County’s yard waste – beginning within the next 30 months – at a future gasification facility that converts organic debris into energy.

The agreement came after nearly two years of discussions and negotiations, which continued right up until the final vote.

“Now get to work,” Mayor Heather Carruthers told Energy 3 officials who attended the BOCC meeting.

The 15-year, approximately $24-million contract lowers the disposal rate to $67.20 per ton. This rate is 20 % less than the County was paying with its previous yard waste disposal company and $12.30 per ton less than it is paying Energy 3 under a 30-month interim agreement in which the yard waste is taken to a mulching plant on the mainland.

The County can potentially save about $246,000 per year or $3.69 million over the life of the agreement, while also reducing the County’s carbon footprint. (The 15 years begins when Energy 3’s gasification plant becomes operational).

Under the terms of the contract, Energy 3 will be responsible for the design, permitting, financing and construction of a new gasification plant. The plant also must be operational within 30 months of the contract’s signing. The new lower rate goes into effect as soon as the gasification plant is operational or on Sept. 23, 2018, even if the plant is not completed.

Energy 3 provided a letter of intent to lease property in Broward County, owned by solid waste experts Bergeron Enterprises, to build the gasification plant.

Gasification is a process that has been in use for more than 180 years. It is a set of chemical reactions at high temperatures, but without combustion, that use limited oxygen to convert a carbon-containing feedstock into a synthetic gas, or syngas, which is a source of renewable electricity.

The contract mandates that Energy 3 must provide a recycling rate of 75 % or greater for processing the County’s yard waste. The County expects to produce at least 20,000 tons annually of yard waste, but in the contract there is no minimum amount required.

If Energy 3 defaults on any of the contract’s material terms (including acquiring financing) along the way, the County can terminate the contract with no penalty. However, Energy 3 would have a period of time to cure any defaults.

Approval of the contract had unanimous support of the Monroe County Climate Change Advisory Committee.

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 March 25, 2016  Posted by at 12:42 am Issue #159, Public Notice  Add comments

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