Environment committee votes for Plasco extension
Waste-to-energy company says it needs until Dec. 2014 to secure financing
City Councillors on Ottawa's environment committee have extended Plasco's financial deadline for a second time in order to allow the company to secure financing for a proposed plant that would turn garbage into energy.
The city had signed a deal with the waste-to-energy company that required it to secure financing for its waste-processing plant on Trim Road by March 2013, but the company received an extension to the end of August.
Plasco President and CEO Rod Bryden has since asked for a 16-month extension to December 31, 2014.
He said that he had underestimated the challenges in bringing enough investors on board.
City staff came out in support of the extension and said providing the extension would not have any serious implications for the city.
The committee agreed with Bryden's proposed extension, which still needs approval by Ottawa city council.
The plan is for Plasco to start treating some of the city's residential waste by 2016.
20 year, $180M contract
The city and Plasco signed a 20-year, $180 million contract last year that could see upwards of 300 tonnes of residential waste per day diverted from landfills, converted to gas and burned to generate electricity for the city's grid.
Plasco's proposed plant would use a process called plasma gasification, which uses electrical energy and the high temperatures to break down waste, primarily into elemental gas and solid waste.
The technology is seen as a way to send less waste to landfills, while offering the possibility of using energy generated by the plant to add power to the electrical grid.
But the company has yet to prove it on a large scale. The city's deal with Plasco is contingent not only on the company securing financing, but also on Plasco completing construction of its waste-processing plant by 2016.
Opposition to extension
The extension was opposed by Duncan Bury, who helped launch the blue box recycling program in Ottawa and who spoke to the committee during public delegations on Thursday.
"I would urge you to reject the staff recomendation," said Bury, who is also a former Environment Canada waste expert.
He said the committee should pull the plug on Plasco and move on.
"I think this has gone on long enough," said Bury. He said the city has "absolutely nothing" for all the time and energy invested in Plasco.
He was hoping the committee would instead vote to put out a request for proposals.
Councillors had no questions for Bury after he addressed the committee.