A Senate bill seeking to incentivize the use of solid waste-to-energy facilities unanimously cleared its first committee Tuesday afternoon.
The proposal (SB 1764), filed by Wauchula Republican Sen. Ben Albritton, would create a program that encourages municipalities to establish solid waste-to-energy facilities. The bill appropriates $100 million in recurring funds for the program.
“This bill actually is very simple — it has two goals,” Albritton said when presenting the bill to the Senate Regulated Industries Committee. “No. 1, to reduce the amount of storage of solid waste in our landfills, and two, be able, through that, (to) take that solid waste and create energy with it and have that to be a significant presence in the energy creation state of Florida.”
The program would be housed by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and provide financial assistance via a grant program and an incentive grant program to municipal solid waste-to-energy facilities.
What are solid waste-to-energy facilities? These industrial facilities convert nonrecyclable waste materials into usable heat, electricity or fuel through processes like combustion, gasification, pyrolization, anaerobic digestion and landfill gas recovery.
In addition to creating energy, the facilities also act as a waste management option, reducing the amount of material otherwise buried in landfills by about 87%, according to a legislative analysis of the bill.
A plant can reduce 2,000 pounds of solid waste down to 300 to 600 pounds of ash. The analysis states that in 2018, about 12% of the 292 million tons of solid waste produced in the U.S. was burned in such plants.
Florida has the largest solid waste burn capacity in the country, according to the analysis. The state currently operates 10 solid waste-to-energy facilities, concentrated in Florida’s most-populated counties.
Joe Kilsheimer, executive director of the Florida Waste to Energy Coalition, spoke in support of the legislation.
“If you add up the populations of the communities where waste-to-energy is the dominant method of solid waste disposal, that comes to nearly 48% of Florida’s population. And if you add up their economies, it’s more than half of the entire state economy. That makes waste-to-energy critical infrastructure for Florida,” Kilsheimer said. “The incentive program proposed in SB 1764 would give Florida’s waste energy communities firm financial footing on which to base their planning for the future of solid waste disposal in their communities.”
The Senate bill now has two more committees to clear before it can be heard by the full chamber. An identical House bill (HB 1419) was filed by Rep. Amber Mariano, but it has yet to be heard in committee.
January 25, 2022 at 10:08 pm
Thanks for the update on the proposed bill to promote WTE as a viable source of renewable electricity in Florida. Florida has the most WTE facilities of any state in the U.S., and with a little encouragement, there are numerous counties in Florida which could support a WTE facility. In addition to being renewable, these facilities are reliable base load electric generators, and located in close proximity to the demand for electricity.
January 26, 2022 at 8:02 am
This is sorely needed. And something else is sorely needed is the elimination of recycling. Put everything in WTE
January 26, 2022 at 10:43 am
Energy from Waste (EFW) facilities drastically cut greenhouse emissions compared to landfills. As we move towards a more sustainable future, EFW Plants will be a major piece of that process. Build more!
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