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Trash-to-energy plan moves forward

By Staff | Jun 14, 2010

Cape Coral City Council entered into a letter of intent with the Red Energy Group on Monday.
Red Energy Group will now begin negotiating to receive the city’s garbage, which they will transform into synthetic fuel.
If fully realized, the project would turn trash into a renewable fuel source, possibly cutting trash collection costs for citizens and give the city another commercial tax base.
The city must now have a conversation with Lee County, which shares an inter-local agreement with Cape Coral to receive the city’s solid waste.
An agreement would have to be reached, and the impact of removing that trash stream from the county would have to be determined, according to city staff.
City staff also said that benefits from the facility would include jobs, possible profit sharing with the Red Energy Group, and discounts on diesel fuel.
City Manager Carl Schwing said the only thing the Red Energy Group wants from the city is trash.
“They’re not asking for anything from the city … no incentives, no land, no money. They are asking for 20 years of our trash,” Schwing said.
Councilmember Marty McClain said that while he supports the waste-to -energy plant, he wants to be cautious when dealing with inter-local agreement.
He said if the plant can’t handle the amount of trash, or is unsuccessful for any reason, it would cost the city more in the long run, having to scramble to find a location to send the city’s waste.
The county could seek money if the city stopped using its solid waste facilities.
“We could lose our capacity,” McClain said. “We could be shipping our garbage a long way from here for a significant amount of money.”
Mayor John Sullivan said he planned on making a presentation on the waste-to- energy plant to the Board of County Commissioners, and have a conversation about the inter-local agreement.
Sullivan said if the plant were successful, it might give the county another option to rid themselves of solid waste.
“I could see this could be a big asset for them as well,” Sullivan said. “We’ll be the guinea pigs, but if it works, it will be an effective part of what the county is doing.”