Energy Advocates Urge PSC To Deny Covanta’s EFW Request

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Clean energy advocates are calling on the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) to reject Covanta Energy Corp.'s request to include burning garbage, known as energy from waste (EFW), as an eligible technology under New York's renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

The PSC will be accepting public comment on Covanta's request until Aug. 19. The groups are calling on the public to weigh in against this proposal before the close of the comment period.

‘Allowing trash incineration to participate in the RPS will significantly impede New York's ability to invest in clean, emissions-free technologies like solar, wind and hydro power,’ says Carol E. Murphy, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE NY). ‘That goes against the intent of the RPS program and would be a major step back in our fight against global climate change.’

The RPS is funded by a small charge on utility ratepayers' monthly electric bill. Average homeowners pay approximately $0.25/month into the program, which totals approximately $175 million annually, according to ACE NY.

If the PSC were to grant Covanta's request, EFW facilities could receive funding under the RPS, redirecting limited funds away from legitimate renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, according to ACE NY, adding that similar past requests have been rejected by the PSC.

New York's RPS was established in 2004 and set a goal of producing 25% of the state's electricity from renewable resources by 2013. The RPS has since been expanded to 30% by 2015.

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