Invited Session: Energy Recovery
Keeping the Lights On: WtE Facility Life Extension Lessons Learned
Monday, September 25, 2017
15:30 – 16:30
Successfully extending the useful life of waste to energy (WtE) facilities requires creativity, perseverance and sometimes a bit of luck. Understanding what elements are needed to keep a project going under the economic, institutional and regulatory changes these projects face is critical to helping maintain and grow the industry.
Preservation of aging infrastructure is a critical issue facing many owners and operators of waste to energy facilities today. Many customers, operators and owners of WtE facilities in the United States and Europe have had to answer very tough questions as their long-term disposal and power purchase contracts have come to an end. Municipalities are faced with end-of-term decisions including ownership, renewal of existing contracts, maintaining regional relationships, disbanding regional affiliations, changes in technology and/or entering into agreements with alternative disposal facilities. Private sector owner/operators are faced with tough investment decisions regarding if and how much to invest in life extension capital improvement projects. Required investments can run into the tens of millions of dollars/euros. The existing relationships between a municipality and the WtE facility, including ownership and contract terms, directly influence the end-of-term conversations and options.
This panel addresses the issue of life extension efforts from the public and private sector perspective. Our panelists bring real world experience in navigating the rapids during end of term transitions. A public sector representative will discuss status and lessons learned from several recent WtE projects that have reached, or are nearing, the end of their initial or renewal terms as the public and private partners address what to do and how to do it. On the private side, we will describe some of the benefits to be obtained resulting from capital investments in equipment replacement/modification as part of life extension projects. The discussions will cover an update on the factors affecting existing contracts reaching end of term, key elements to be considered by participants in identifying what their options are, the role of asset assessment and capital planning, typical terms and conditions and key ingredients of and how to put in place an effective action plan to keep the lights on.
By attending this presentation, participants will be better able to identify critical factors affecting the success of life extension efforts at existing waste management facilities. We will discuss the types of asset management initiatives needed to help ensure that owners/operators are able to extend and fully utilize the useful life potential of these capital intensive facilities. We will examine the issues that keep public sponsors and facility managers up at night as these facilities "age-out" and discuss examples of various initiatives undertaken to extend the operating lives of several projects.