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Waste to Energy (WTE) uses municipal solid waste – after recycling and composting – to produce electricity and heat. Waste is burned, creating a gas. The gas is used with a turbine and generator to produce electricity, or it runs a boiler that converts water to steam, and the steam is used to produce electricity.
In 2012, Yukon Energy hired Morrison Hershfield to look at feasibility of developing a WTE facility in the Marwell Industrial Area of Whitehorse. It has since confirmed that those findings were still relevant in late 2015.
The study considered the amount of municipal solid waste available at the time, after recycling and composting. It assumed that waste volumes would continue to grow at the historical four percent per year.
At the time of the report, a 16 percent recycling rate was being achieved. The city had plans to increase recycling rates to 50 percent by 2015.
While the City of Whitehorse did not achieve that level of diversion by 2015 (current diversion rate is 35 percent), Morrison Hershfield included data to show the impacts of a 50 percent rate.
The research outlines plans for a 1.6 MW plant that calls for 25,000 tonnes of post-recycling and composting waste per year. The study found that of the 25,000 tonnes, 7,700 tonnes of biomass would be required to supplement the feedstock. The need for biomass would decrease over time as the amount of municipal solid waste increased with population growth.
|Annual Energy||Firm Energy||Installed Capacity||Dependable Capacity||Levelized Cost of Energy||Levelized Cost of Capacity||Project Life||In-service Lead Time|
|Aquatic environment||Most favourable|
|Terrestrial environment||Most favourable|
|Air quality||Somewhat favourable|
|First Nation lands||Most favourable|
|Traditional lifestyle||Most favourable|
|Heritage resources||Most favourable|
|Tourism/recreation/other land uses||Most favourable|
|Cultural/community well-being||Most favourable|
|Local economic benefits||Somewhat favourable|
|Climate change risk||Most favourable|
Waste to energy generation is seldom economic without the sale of heat. Of the energy produced in a waste to energy plant, only about 10 percent is converted to electricity. There is currently no viable market for the heat. That is one reason the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) shown on the previous page does not include heat sales. The other reason is to provide consistency with the other options in the 2016 Resource Plan.
Electricity only: $0.45/kWh
Both heat and electricity: $0.25/kWh
The current cost of electricity to Yukon homeowners is approximately $0.14/kWh.
Provides winter energy
High cost energy/capacity
Limited energy and capacity