Waste Is Energy in California

At last month’s Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo and Solar POWER-GEN Conference & Exhibition conference attendees visited the Covanta Waste-to-Energy Center in Long Beach, Calif. One of just three waste-to-energy facilities in California, Covanta’s Southeast Resource Recovery Facility (SERRF) center burns 1,400 to 1,500 tons of waste each day. In doing so, the facility generates up to 36 MW – power which is sold to Southern California Edison. Not only does the center provide a sustainable method of disposing of waste for the City of Long Beach, but it also strives to keep its emissions 75 percent lower than EPA’s requirements.

The facility began commercial operations in July 1988. Today, SERRF processes more than 1,380 tons of municipal solid waste per day, generating enough renewable power to meet the needs of approximately 35,000 homes.

With the area’s largest landfill scheduled to close in 2013, the facility will continue to serve the communities of Southern California as an environmentally sensitive and viable waste management alternative. Since beginning operations, SERRF has processed more than 10 million tons of solid waste in an environmentally safe and responsible manner.

In addition to producing energy, SERRF performs recycling services by recovering such items as white goods prior to incineration and metals after incineration. Each month, an average of 825 tons of metal are recycled rather than sent to a landfill from SERRF operations. As a public service and at the request of law enforcement agencies within California, SERRF began destroying narcotics and drug-related paraphernalia in 1992. Since its inception, SERRF has destroyed an average of 17,000 pounds of narcotics each month.

For more information, check out the video below.

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Former associate editor for Power Engineering magazine where I used to EPA's regulations for the power industry in detail. For renewables, I write about solar and wind-related policies and technologies. I'm a native of Tulsa, Okla. with a background in print and online journalism.

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