“McKittrick says the protracted battle by ReVenture opponents over processing Mecklenburg’s municipal solid waste also played a role in his decision.”
Thanks to Charlotte Business Journal Senior Staff Writer John Downey for clarifying what is going on behind the scenes in Raleigh!
Incentives reduction key to trimmed ReVenture facility
Charlotte Business Journal – by John Downey, Senior Staff Writer
May 27, 2011
Duke Energy Carolinas plans to buy less power from ReVenture Park’s waste-to-energy plant after it was spooked by legislative efforts to strip some incentives from the project.
That prompted developer Tom McKittrick to reduce its size to 10 megawatts from 20. At the same time, McKittrick said ReVenture would scrap its controversial plan to use municipal waste from Mecklenburg County as a fuel for the biomass plant.
Duke Carolinas President Brett Carter cites legislation proposed by lawmakers from counties with large poultry operations for Duke’s decreased appetite for power from ReVenture.
The bill cuts back a provision the General Assembly put into law last year. That law enables Duke to count renewable-energy credits from up to 20 megawatts of capacity from the biomass plant against state requirements to generate power from poultry waste.
“The fact is that the ability to use those (renewable-energy credits) for poultry-waste requirements adds value to the purchase of power from ReVenture,” Carter says. “Without it, the purchase does not make as much economic sense and we are interested in buying less.”
McKittrick says the protracted battle by ReVenture opponents over processing Mecklenburg’s municipal solid waste also played a role in his decision.
It was quite a reversal for ReVenture. Last July, a flurry of legislative activity pushed by members of the Mecklenburg delegation led to passage of the Cleanfields Act. The law gave triple renewable-energy credits for power purchases from the biomass plant. And it said the credits would be counted first against the purchaser’s poultry-waste requirements.
The Energy Act of 2007 requires N.C. utilities by 2021 to produce 12.5% of the power they sell from renewable sources. The mandates are phased in, including a requirement for utilities to generate 900 gigawatt-hours of power from poultry waste, starting in 2014.
Duke and other utilities have repeatedly contended the poultry technology isn’t advanced enough to be reliable and will make for expensive energy. So the poultry provision of last year’s legislation was attractive to Duke. At the same time, proponents of renewable energy generally liked the measure as well.
But it rankled poultry-waste developers and legislators in counties with large poultry operations.
In March, Sen. Brent Jackson (R-Sampson) introduced a bill to strip the poultry provisions from the Cleanfields Act.
That bill, approved by the state Senate on Tuesday and sent on House, cuts back the poultry provision to apply only to the first 10 megawatts of capacity.
As the Senate vote loomed, McKittrick announced he was scaling back the project. “The utility company we are negotiating with has informed us that their appetite for purchasing the renewable energy from ReVenture has been reduced. The size of the power plant we would develop is driven exclusively by the amount of power that can be sold.”
Duke spokesman Jason Walls says McKittrick mischaracterized Duke’s role in the decision. “We never told ReVenture what size plant they should build,” he says.
McKittrick declines to comment on Walls’ contention. But he says the doubts raised by the latest legislative moves and local objections to using Mecklenburg’s waste in the plant made it more viable to opt for a smaller operation.
McKittrick insists cutting back on the waste-to-energy plant will have little effect on the ultimate plans for the ReVenture Park. McKittrick has promoted the development as a clean-energy park that would bring up to $1 billion worth of investment and as many as 900 jobs to the 667-acre brownfield site near Mount Holly.