MRC represents 187 Maine municipalities with their municipal solid waste
The MRC represents 187 Maine member communities that have their municipal solid waste (MSW) delivered to the Penobscot Energy Recovery Company, L.P. (PERC) waste-to-energy facility (the Facility). MSW received at the Facility is shredded, passed by magnets to recover ferrous material for recycling, then processed into fuel for use in generating electricity. In 2015, the Facility received over 311,700 tons of MSW, recovered over 7,900 tons of ferrous material and generated over 162,500 MWh of electricity.
The PERC facility will accept solid waste that meets the following definition found in its waste disposal agreements:
“Acceptable Waste” means Solid Waste, including all ordinary household, municipal, institutional, commercial and industrial wastes which consist primarily of combustible materials, except for the following:
- Demolition or construction debris from building and roadway projects or locations
- Liquid wastes or sludges
- Abandoned or junk vehicles
- Hazardous Waste
- Dead animals or portions thereof or other pathological wastes;
- Water treatment facility residues
- Tree stumps
- Tannery sludge
- Waste oil
- Discarded “white goods” such as freezers, refrigerators, washing machines, etc.
- Waste which in the reasonable judgment of COMPANY’S weigh station operator based solely upon a visual inspection has a BTU content of less than 4000 BTUs per pound unless the waste fails to meet the aforementioned BTU minimum requirement solely because of the moisture content of such waste and such moisture content is due to abnormally wet weather conditions; and
- Waste which, in the reasonable judgment of COMPANY based on a visual inspection at the time of delivery could, if processed, result in damage to the Facility, interruption of normal Facility operations or extraordinary processing or maintenance costs, solely by virtue of the physical or chemical properties of such waste.
In 2015, PERC recorded deliveries of MSW from the Charter Municipalities of 179,497 tons to the PERC facility — which was below the Guaranteed Annual Tonnage (GAT) of 184,252 tons per year. Deliveries to the PERC facility have declined in recent years for a a variety of reasons. In some cases, MSW deliveries are down due to pay-as-you-throw waste reduction programs and new single-stream recycling programs. In other cases, MSW originating within Charter Municipalities and collected by private haulers is being delivered to disposal facilities other than the PERC facility.
The MRC encourages its members to reduce the amount of MSW being generated, and to recycle as much as they can. MSW that requires disposal, however, should be directed to the PERC facility.
In recent years, MSW deliveries from the Charter Municipalities in aggregate have fallen below the GAT that is the obligation for delivery of MSW to the PERC facility on an annual basis. This trend can be reversed if the Charter Municipalities take steps to control delivery of MSW originating within their borders to the PERC facility rather than elsewhere.
Charter Municipalities have each made firm contractual commitments to deliver all MSW originating within their borders to the PERC facility. Collectively, the Charter Municipalities are committed to deliver a minimum amount of MSW each year (the Guaranteed Annual Tonnage, or (GAT). All Charter Municipalities benefit when these commitments are met or exceeded. A failure by an individual Charter Municipality has an adverse economic impact every Charter Municipality.
The MRC encourages its members to reduce the amount of MSW they generate, and to recycle as much MSW as they can. All remaining MSW that originates with in their borders, however, should be directed to the PERC facility.
Charter Municipalities can enforce the control the flow of MSW to the PERC Facility by:
- Directly managing deliveries of MSW collected at curbside or at a transfer station.
- Requiring haulers active in their town to deliver collected MSW to the PERC facility by enacting ordinances for hauler licensing or flow control. Click here to see a model licensing ordinance and a model flow control ordinance.
- Educating large generators about commitments to the PERC facility and the environmental advantages of recovering energy from MSW.
- Requiring residents and businesses that contract for MSW removal service to show that their haulers are delivering the MSW to the PERC facility.
Every municipality has unique circumstances that make MSW collection and control a complicated matter. Contact the MRC for ideas to ensure that all MSW that remains after recycling is delivered to the PERC facility.
Every quarter, PERC submits a calculation of the tip fee to the MRC for review. Tip fees have held in the 70s per ton in recent years as shown.
These tip fees are the gross amount paid for deliveries of Acceptable Waste to the PERC facility without accounting for cash rebates from performance credits, cash distributions from the PERC partnership or disbursements from the Tip Fee Stabilization Fund.
Click here to see letters to the MRC Board reviewing the tip fee calculations and discussing the factors that drive the changes in the tip fee each quarter.
In every year since 1994, the MRC has rebated cash back to the Charter Municipalities. These cash distributions are intended to offset tip fees payments in order to keep the net cost of disposal at a target value. Target values are set by the MRC Board of Directors. The cash comes from the following sources:
- Performance Credits, calculated as 1/3 of the profits of the PERC partnership.
- Net Cash Flow, which is the cash distributions from the PERC partnership as sent out monthly to Equity Charter Municipalities as owners of limited partnership shares in the PERC partnership.
- The Tip Fee Stabilization Fund, which the MRC built from cash received in excess of distributions.
The target values are currently set at $63 per ton for all Charter Municipalities. Fund investments are managed by People’s United Bank.
In 2010, after a process that included a survey of the Charter Municipalities and extensive analysis and discussion, the MRC Board of Directors approved a Target Value Increase Plan. This Plan would have the target values increase each year through 2018 in order to extend the availability of funds in the Tip Fee Stabilization Fund and to prepare for tip fee increases anticipated after the current waste disposal agreements expire in 2018. The Plan would also equalize the target values for the Equity Charter Municipalities and the New Charter Municipalities .
The MRC calculates cash distributions each quarter. To review letters to the MRC Board that describe these calculations, see the asset management letters in the resources page.
Each year, the MRC forecasts the cash to be distributed to the Charter Municipalities in the upcoming fiscal year. Click below to review the most recent projections.