Sun Op-Ed: Proposed Baltimore Waste to Energy Plant Necessary

A September 10 Baltimore Sun opinion piece questions whether waste to energy plants are truly “green” but argues that they are a necessary alternative to existing energy options.  The article also speaks favorably of the plant’s innovative financing that relies on a consortium of public sector customers agreeing to purchase power from a plant before it is built.

There is some question about whether the electricity plant planned for a vacant, brown patch on Baltimore’s waterfront would be truly “green” and “renewable.”

The generator built by Energy Answers would burn waste otherwise destined for the dump. It would blow carbon dioxide and other unnatural stuff into the air. Its backers say it’s cleaner than a coal-burning plant and will save many acres of landfill space.

What’s not debatable is that Central Maryland needs new generation plants. To reduce the state’s reliance on imported electricity. To cut expensive charges for piping juice on a congested grid to Baltimore Gas & Electric customers. And to break the hold of BGE parent Constellation Energy on the local-generation supply.  …

With the ability to light, heat and cool nearly 50,000 homes, it would be the biggest single electricity development in Central Maryland since Constellation’s coal-fired Brandon Shores plant expanded two decades ago in Anne Arundel County. Its 160 megawatts would give it half the capacity of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s famous (and, so far, unapproved) offshore windmill project.  …

And thanks to a measure that O’Malley signed into law this year, the facility would count toward the state’s goal of buying at least a fifth of its energy from renewable sources by 2022. 

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