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Trash-to-fuel company given EDA support to continue project

By Megan Workman

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The state Economic Development Authority showed support for Entsorga West Virginia Thursday, which helps the Berkeley County solid waste facility continue operations of its project, the group's executive director said.

David Warner said the bond inducement resolution EDA board members approved at its monthly meeting Thursday would cover the money Entsorga spends now -- on legal and engineering work to secure permits -- and the company would pay it off later.

The EDA expects to reimburse Entsorga for capital expenditures, including construction, design and equipment, for up to $19.3 million.

The state Public Service Commission approved a certificate of need application from Entsorga May 11.

The $19 million mechanical-biological treatment facility would recycle municipal solid waste, such as food waste and other biodegradable items, and turn it into solid refuse fuel, which could be use to replace traditional fuels.

The PSC said in its May 11 order that the facility is "innovative and unique to West Virginia."

The company is located in Tortona, Italy, but has been working with the Berkeley County Solid Waste Authority since 2009.

Entsorga will lease four acres from the county solid waste authority. The PSC said in its order that the company is not a typical solid waste facility because "it will accept municipal solid waste and produce a final product that is sold and used to produce energy."

"The proposed facility's [mechanical-biological treatment] technology has proven successful elsewhere, particularly throughout Europe," the Commission wrote in its order. "There is no hazardous waste, incineration or combustion involved in the MBT process."

Entsorga anticipates that 80 to 100 percent of the waste it accepts and processes will be from sources in the state.

Much of its waste stream will come from local waste haulers in Berkeley, Morgan and Jefferson counties, all which are located in an area called Wasteshed E.

Growth in Wasteshed E is projected to increase by 21.1 percent for the years 2015 through 2035, according to the West Virginia Solid Waste Plan, which emphasizes more the need for the facility, according to the PSC.

"Less than 30 percent of the municipal solid waste will be landfilled," the PSC wrote. "Additionally, because none of the municipal solid waste will be landfilled on site, the proposed facility requires no airspace allocation and reduces the need for increased land-based disposal, reduces the need for additional landfill space, and reduces the energy consumption of fossil fuels."

Warner said the EDA board members didn't issue bonds to Entsorga, but there will be a resolution to issue bonds in the future, he said.

"This resolution in no way binds the EDA to issue bonds, that decision would be made when we came back later," Warner said. "Later this year, hopefully, we'll know more."

Also on Thursday, board members approved a $150 million equipment lease-revenue bond with Gestamp, a Spanish automotive parts manufacturer in South Charleston. The EDA holds the title for up to $150 million worth of equipment at Gestamp.

The resolution authorizes the EDA to select a trustee for the bond deal as additional equipment comes it, which will help lower the bond.

Warner said Gestamp is ahead of their investment and employment projections, "which are important things we're looking at," he said.

"They continue to expand at Gestamp as a growing manufactuerer," Warner said.

Board members on Thursday also insured a $500,000 bank loan to United Bank for M-Rock Inc., which makes decorative stone veneer products, to keep its 30 employees in Monroe County. The loan insurance could permit the company to add 10 jobs in the next two years.

Reach Megan Workman at megan.workman@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.  


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