Covanta gets extension to 2035 to operate Pennsylvania waste-to-energy plant

The York County Solid Waste and Refuse Authority, owner of the York County Resource Recovery Center (RRC), and Covanta York Renewable Energy Systems LLC, operator of the RRC, on Dec. 10 announced the extension of their long-term operation and maintenance contract until 2035 for the waste-to-energy facility located in Manchester Township, Pa.

Ongoing investments totaling $30 million will continue to ensure the facility maintains rigorous performance and safety standards and reliable operations for decades to come, Covanta noted. The agreement takes effect Jan. 1, 2016, and continues through Dec. 31, 2035, and is based on the framework of the current service agreement between the authority and Covanta.

“This agreement positions the Authority and Covanta to continue serving York County’s municipal solid waste management needs well into the future by ensuring reliable and outstanding operation of the RRC,” said David Vollero, Authority Executive Director. “Together, we’ve generated significant volumes of electricity for our residents from trash that would otherwise go to landfills.”

“Our ability to extend mutually-beneficial, long-term partnerships with our host communities well into the future, such as this latest agreement with the York County Solid Waste and Refuse Authority, is a major affirmation of the success of public-private partnerships and an important endorsement of Covanta’s ability to meet the needs of our client communities,” said Covanta President and Chief Executive Officer Stephen Jones.

Since the facility began operations in 1989, a total of 10,817,313 tons of municipal solid waste have been converted into 5,516,050 megawatt hours of energy. Covanta acquired the operating contract for the facility from Veolia in 2009 and has since managed the facility’s maintenance and daily operations. The facility is designed to process up to 1,344 tons of municipal solid waste per day.

“We applaud York County’s decision to continue their commitment to utilize Energy-from-Waste for sustainable and environmentally-friendly municipal solid waste disposal, while promoting a local source of clean, renewable energy,” said Jim Klecko, Vice President, Sustainable Solutions at Covanta.

Covanta operates four additional waste-to-energy facilities in the state in Lancaster County, Delaware County, Harrisburg and Plymouth.

The RRC exports more than 220,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually to the local power grid, enough to annually power more than 10% of the households in York County. That electricity qualifies as an alternative energy source under Pennsylvania law.  The authority is self-sufficient through its two revenue streams: the sale of electricity and fees collected for disposal of waste at the RRC.

At full capacity, the three boilers at this York County facility produce approximately 360,000 pounds per hour of superheated steam. The steam passes through an extraction-condensing turbine that drives a generator producing 36 MW to 40 MW. It uses approximately 5 MW in-house to operate the facility and the authority’s management center. Metropolitan Edison purchases the rest of the electricity.

Parent Covanta is a world leader in providing sustainable waste and energy solutions. The company’s 45 energy-from-waste facilities provide communities and businesses around the world with environmentally sound solid waste disposal by using waste to generate clean, renewable energy.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.