City Government

Team Dave Opposes Ada-Dynamis Deal

It has taken them two and a half years and following the lead of the Meridian City Council, Boise has issued a formal letter in opposition to the Ada County-Dynamis trash to energy scheme.

In the LETTERwas sent December 11 to the Ada Commishes, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter is critical of the lack of public participation in the licensing and zoning process used by the Ada Commishes to approve the project.

We applaud both the City Council and the Mayor for seeing the light after spending $60,000 of public money in a successful effort two years ago to deny voters the right to approve debt for major projects at the BOI airport. Boise has worked hard to thwart efforts of citizens to have a voice in everything from urban renewal to construction of a police headquarters. This apparent change of heart is welcome.

With citizen outrage from Meridian, The Ada Planning and Zoning Commission, The GUARDIAN, and the Idaho Statesman, Bieter has plenty of fodder for his cannon to oppose the Dynamis project. It is done in the name of protecting Boise ratepayers and citizens who breath the air. Let’s hope this the dawning of a new age at City Hall that will see transparency in government that is sorely lacking at the county level.

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality also released a report recently which didn’t bode well for the project. Meanwhile the investigation to gather facts for the special prosecutor assigned to the case has been completed. The report is under consideration to determine if the constitution was violated when the county paid $2 million to the private firm and if other laws were violated.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. We need Dynamis Energy for our community to have clean air, water, and soil. We are risking jobs here people just so Dave case can have a nice sound bite when he runs for reelection. I think we need to send Dave case packing back to New York where he can finally get a decent haircut from Donald trumps Barber.

  2. I will give the Mayor a pat on the back for this one

  3. The trash burner is still at the science project stage of development. I think it’s a great idea which needs further development before it is safe for practical use. It has recieved money from a few communities which were loose with their money (and perhaps misled) but the lack of large corporate money from GE and Siemens indicates further development is not practical with today’s technology.

  4. We don’t need Dynamis or any other incerators of trash. I speak as one who fought with a citizens’ opposition group back in upstate NY umpteen years ago against a project supported by the biggest NY Leg. crook, who probably got something for his support. We also learned that the NJ mafia was involved in this one. Since they planned to site it near a small sleepy they thought)village, it was harder for corruption to get their way because the locals fought like tigers. We won. The thing got moved to a small city–go figure.

    Incinerators pollute the air, earth, and water because owners of same refuse to spend the bucks
    needed to put effective pollution traps on the chimneys. Too often they get away with it in areas occupied by ignoramuses, who refuse to take care of their home base.

  5. Why burn anything unnecessarily? Landfill land is not a problem around here for well over the next 100 years. The question I would ask anyone with this kind of stupid idea is where is the benefit for anyone but the developers?

    I hope Dynamis just goes away even if we lose $2MM due to the lack of due diligence from our Commissioners. They can be dealt with at the next election and the lost money is the price of the lessons learned in this mess.

  6. Shocked vOTER
    Dec 16, 2012, 10:09 am

    What does public schools and nutjobs have to do with discussion about Dynamis? This disscusion should keep on track about the dirty air that Dynamis will put out.

  7. LandfillUser
    Dec 16, 2012, 6:49 pm

    It is late, but a strong letter in opposition, including the statement that Boise’s trash may go elsewhere rather than contribute to Dynamis’ ill conceived project. In other words, build the plant at the risk of having nothing to burn.

    The bottom line is that this project just isn’t financial feasible here. For better or worse, Idaho has the lowest landfill rates in the entire country. The only way any kind of waste to energy plant would make sense here is to trap all sorts of subsidies, do emission control on the cheap, as well as design the plant to slip through regulatory cracks. When it was half the size that strategy may have worked. Not any more. If the company is serious they could sell to a municipality like Portland where each garbage truck has to travel hundreds of miles round trip, and the fiscal basis is realistic. For some reason, though, I don’t think Dynamis would make it through the front or back door there.

    Watching the Dynamis fiasco makes me agree with the editor’s assertion that transparency is the key. Transparency in itself is not very exciting, and it is easy to look the other way if one feels that their interests are being served regardless, or perhaps due to, its lack. Transparency may make governing more messy and inefficient in the short term. But without it, in the long run, what do we have? Government serving the powerful, I suspect.

  8. Zippo and others. Please research waste to energy before you post about it. The technology has been around for years. What are you worried about exactly? The emmissions that come for the stack are the same as if it were a coal plant or a natural gas plant. Joki, the EPA highly regulates all emmissions from “chimneys”. Exactly what pollutants do you object to. Please be specific. Trash burners have been around for years and the technology is as state of the art as you can get. How many have you been in? I personally have worked at 2 and toured 4 others. The have the same requirements every other power plant has. You will be begging for cheap power in 2015 as Obama’s EPA shuts down all coal. Trash is an alternative and a viable one at that. Do you even know how one operates. The largest waste to energy corporation has a plant in Spokane. Take a tour and then report back. The posts opposing the plant reek of fear mongering. But then again, don’t let the facts get in the way of your “feelings”.

  9. @doresearch: BS!
    -Not appropriate for this situation.
    -Not appropriate for Ada county to bankroll.

    If it was such a great idea we would have them everywhere like we do coal and NG power generation. If you find it to be such a great idea, then go do your song and dance for a bank, get a loan, and live happily ever after.

  10. I wonder if doresearch and his opinions are the result of unfiltered cigarette smoke rather than the extra dioxin one would be exposed to while working in one of these plants. There is a simple reason these plants haven’t been built in U.S. for many years. They cost too much. As first proposed Dynamis was not going to put any pollution control equipment in. Acceptable controls would cost upwards of $15 million. Spokane and New York plants charge as much as 4 times as much to dispose of their garbage thru one of these plants. Reread Landfill user’s comments. He has a good explanation

  11. Zippo and chicago sam please answer these questions as they are appropriate:

    1) Coal will by gone as per the current administration in 2015. Can you name the coal fired power plants that supply the treasure valley and how many megawatts they provide southern Idaho?

    2)chicago sam stated that a waste to energy plant hasn’t been built in many years. Please do some research. Can you name the waste to energy facility that was just recently built and commissioned on the east coast?

    3) Can you name the title of the permit every power plant has with the EPA and what the mandated emmission guidelines are for a waste to energy facility?

    4) You stated that Spokane and New York plants charge as much as 4 times as much to dispose of garbage thru one of these plants. What is your source?

    5) how many tons of garbage per day are processed at the Spokane facility and how many megawatts do you get in return?

    6)Can you tell me how that “typical” pollution control system operates at the “typical” waste to energy facility and how that differs from a coal plant?

    7) The recent construction and commissioning of a natural gas plant just took place in western Idaho. How much did this cost to build in comparison to the proposed Dynamis plant?

    8) The most important question to ask is: What happens when the currently operating coal fired plants are gone in 2015? I will give you a hint. Look at southern California and how they recently pulled the permit to build and natural gas fired plant stating “we don’t need the power”. Their rates are insanely high and they have to buy their power from trash plants in Mexico and purchase 4000 mw’s from Arizona. Burning garbage is a viable alternative. We can argue this point in 2015 when you don’t have the power to even complain about the evil megawatts.

  12. chicago sam
    Dec 20, 2012, 5:43 pm

    doresearch–Many of the answers you claim to be asking for are contained in testimony before the Ada County Planning and Zoning Commission a few weeks ago. Much of the rest cam be found on the DEQ website. Simply file a freedom of information request and your education will start. Have a Merry Christmas

  13. The proposed Dynamis plant is not a significant source of energy like the coal and NG plants you are trying to compare it too. It is so small that it will be given special purchasing pricing per that silly law for wind and solar. It’s like a toy airplane as compared to a Jumbo Jet.

    Trash is a terrible fuel which is why they wanted to burn lots of tires too. Tires are a great fuel but very very toxic, so now they cannot burn them per aggreement with Ada county. Thus they will need to push other fuels into the mix like NG and use lots of Oxygen to get it hot enough to dispose of the trash. So it’s basically a big incinerator. Hardly a green power source.

    I wounder why GE is not building these all over the country instead of the guys with the temporary address in Eagle.

    Further, Bammie will not be able to get rid of coal or oil or gasoline or guns or Bibles in the few years he has remaining to damage the country. He might even lose the Senate in two years. And will likely spend most of his remaining years hoping to look better than Jimmy Carter.

  14. chicago sam and Zippo,
    I don’t “claim” to be asking questions to the planning and zoning board. I am actually(not claiming to ask) asking YOU as you two seem to be experts. Do you agreee chicago sam that a new plant was built on the east coast this last year? It is true and this makes you a fool as you don’t know anyting about the subject that you are ridiculing!

    Zippo, it aint Obama whois getting rid of coal. It is the EPA regualtions. You sir are WRONG about the combustion of trash. Tires are not allowed! NG and O2 do not need to be injected. GE does not build these plants and neither does Siemens. You tell me that it is an insignicant source of energy and I will assume you mean “power to the grid”. How many megawatts do you consider not significant?

    I asked you two bozos questions to see if you knew the answers to the questions and you do not! You claim to have the answers yet don’t even know the basics.

    Let me ask again. Do you chicago sam or Zippo know how a waste to energy facility works? Yes or no. Don’t give me one of you lame answers by stating that I can find this info out by asking blah blah. If you read my original post you will see that I have operated 2 of these plants. I have a total of 7 years in operations of these plants. This makes me an expert.

    MODERATOR NOTE–I will allow this comment and a reply, but no name calling. Dosresarch is out of line for “BOZO” comment and risks “timeout” at this holiday season. Forceful dialog, but no names please!

  15. I can’t remember if I have ever been called a fool and expert in the same paragraph before and Bozo
    That’s a new one for me. I offer my opinions based on what I believe to be true and you can accept or reject as you see fit. If 7 years operating one of these plants makes you an expert in your mind so be it. I do have considerable experience spreading manure and I have learned to never stand behind one while the wind is blowing or behind a cow that is coughing. Have a good day

  16. The trash burner proposed for Ada was originally to burn tires plus trash in effort to bring the trash up to useful energy load. Lots of crud produced when trash and tires burn so this was bad PR and the county said “no tires” earlier this year. Some of the residual crud can be turned into useful product, some hauled away to hazmat dump, some goes up in smoke and invisible gasses.

    The proposed Ada trash plant was to have Name Plate power of 20MW when not down for cleanings. That’s about the same as 3 of the largest wind turbines. The new NG plant built recently west of Boise (caused a bump on our power bills) is Name Plated for 300 to 330 MW, with expandable capacity as technology improves (additional core units are also often added when growth needed). It is used as a Peak Power plant, thus not used as efficiently as it would be if fired up all the time and taking full advantage of secondary heat recovery systems like most newer Base Power NG and coal plants. This new NG plant is based on a single huge gas turbine engine, very much the same as a aircraft engine. It takes only a handful of people to run it and is very very clean. 300-330MW is fairly small as far as grid power plants go.

    I will attach a few general links which you can read to understand some of the things you inquire about. My primary reasons for opposing this plant are:

    1) We have terrible air quality due to geographic features and this will add to the problem.
    2) The county should not be a bank for new ideas/businesses.
    2a) I am also apposed to Boise using public money to build a baseball stadium for a private business. I’m not apposed to any business which can make it’s own way without direct or indirect government aid. This of course puts me in opposition to nearly any corporate welfare/farmer-rancher welfare/minimum wage/etc. Exceptions to this for me are public works and utilities where one premium system of roads/power grids/communication grids/water pipelines etc. is better than attempting to have competing and redundant systems of such large expense for these core services. However, even in these core service areas, some competition seems to keep rates lower. (I thank god everyday that the government does not run the grocery stores like they tried to do in the USSR as the more they have encroached into the fine details in recent years the more my costs have gone up.)
    3) There were efforts to keep the public away from the trash burner approval process with the commish basically telling the public to go blow when cornered by good questions.
    4) Power produced was to be bought for much higher than the going rate (forced on IP by silly green power law) and would result in higher electric bills.
    5) Higher trash collection fees?
    6) Lots of other stuff which does not pass the gut check because so many very smart people are saying whoa this is not adding up.
    7) Had the trash burner folk set up their business on a private land with private money and were not worsening our pollution problems, I’d have no issue with it. There are still too many questions in this area, and using the commish to stiff arm the public is not helping them.
    8) Bozo was a business that made money without government help and without harming the environment. Thank you for the complement!

    There are fuel gasifiers available on the market, but they are not being snapped up because there are so few situations were they have an advantage over other processes. I think advances in technology will change this eventually, but conducting R&D is not what I pay Ada county for.

    http://spokanewastetoenergy.com/WastetoEnergy.htm

    http://www.idahopower.com/AboutUs/EnergySources/OurPowerPlants/default.cfm

    http://www.energy.siemens.com/br/en/power-generation/fuel-gasifier/

    http://www.technologyreview.com/news/413606/converting-garbage-into-fuel/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_station

  17. Zippo, I am going to have to correct you on several items. The new NG plant in New Plymouth is not “peaker”. By itself it is not expandable with “core units”. To quote you, “It is used as a Peak Power plant, thus not used as efficiently as it would be if fired up all the time and taking full advantage of secondary heat recovery systems like most newer Base Power NG and coal plants.” Completely incorrect. It has a state of the art HRSG (heat recovery steam generator) that is a boiler just like the base load coal plants. Only much more efficient. The gas turbine provides 200 MW and the steam turbine provides approx. 100 MW.

    Trash rates in Spokane? Yes these are from WM but it fails to say why these rates are what they are. They are not “4″ times higher as stated in earlier posts.

    I want to know what the “questions” are in the area of trash burning. The recent construction of the waste to energy facility on the east coast(Baltimore) follows the same emmision guidelines as the new power plant west of Boise. This is not new technology. It is actually very refined. This goes back to my original question that neither sam or Zippo have answered. Do either one of you know how one works and what the pollution controls are.

    “Gut” feelings are fine but they are trumped by facts. I am not argueing about the funding or the price paid for the MW’s produced by one. I am merely correcting your inaccuracies. They are not a science project, they are not built by GE or Siemens, they are numerous nationwide, one was just commisssioned near Baltimore, NG and O2 are not injected, the “chimney” emmissions are the same as coal.

    I am not sure what your comment on gassification is about. Please enlighten me.

    To reiterate, I am not agueing public funding or electric rates. I am trying to dispell rumors about waste to energy with facts. To argue that public funding shouldn’t be used and that it will increase rates by stating the process is a “science project” and other such inaccuracies is wrong in my opinion. Wheelabrator in Spokane offers tours upon request and I would assume the new plant west of Boise would offer similiar.

    I only ask that before you write about the evils of waste to energy or how a combined cycle power plant (in New Plymouth)please have accurate facts. I can say with certainty that what you have written regarding both is highly inaccurate.

  18. @doresearch: Gut check, Handshake, Look in the eye, are the most important business tools man has ever known. Question? are you being paid to post?

    You are splitting hairs for the sake of distraction… and venting anger at someone who dare point out concerns. You have cherry-picked your rebuttal points too. I’m not running for office, I just want people to open this up and smell the trash burning. I urge readers to view the links I posted for valid info/facts. There are so very very many more sources out there too. Also consider efficiency in terms of return on investment $$ in addition to BTU recovery. The biggest argument against this idea is that our local power producer has zero interest in the technology… and they have a very sharp pencil.

    Gasification of trash and tires is a dirty nasty messy expensive process of trying to keep hazmat inside a big tin can. Something best done on the fantail of a ship or Nome AK as an alternative to throwing the raw waste into the sea or dumping it on the permafrost. There is only a tiny little market for these gizmos however so the big companies have near zero interest. Comparing a trash burning (gasification/oxidation) plant to a new NG plant: Spokane trash plant is 13% efficient, the new IP NG plant is over 60%, a new NG furnace for residential home is over 90%.

    We do not NEED nor WANT the extra expense or pollution in the Boise area. If you want it here, then pay for it yourself instead of using half-baked commissioners to ram it through and pay for it too. If this was a great idea we would have heard all about it on the news before any commissioner actions ever took place.

    My boat is sailing, chat with you all when we resurface in a few months,

    ttfn and Merry Christmas!

    PS: One last point. And perhaps one for a contract lawyer. Why doesn’t this technology get marketed to the federal government. I can’t find it anywhere that the feds or military has bought one of these plants for large scale use. Is there something legally different about making a sale to the feds?

    PPS: Can anyone tell my why my 1970 428 Ford (23mpg) got better millage than my Honda V-6? (17mpg). One was painted green and shook the earth. The other is marketed as green, cost too much, and makes a frightening revvvving noise while gently passing 45mph.

  19. It looks like Zippo is avoiding answering any questions to me. doresearch isn’t splitting hairs at all….he is making a point. I have read and reread Mr. Zippo’s post and he tends to ignore the questions asked to him. I have used the web to look at what zippo and doresearch say…I’ll side with doresearch on facts alone.

  20. Frank Brown
    Dec 26, 2012, 8:52 pm

    Doeresearch, do some research. The Spokane WTE facility costs from 9 to 12 million a year to run. They have all the emissions controls and monitoring systems Dynamis refuses to have and put out a fraction tiny fraction of the dioxins/furans/NO2/mercury that Dynamis will while burning many times the amount of trash. If you really have worked at a WTE facility and understood what was going on you would realize the current technology allows one to burn clean and costly OR burn dirty and cheap. Dynamis will burn dirty and cheap. A WTE facility only makes sense economically if electricity rates and landfill rates are sky high. Boise has about the lowest electric and landfill rates in the country and the Ada County landfill has a state of the art north cell that can handle the waste stream for Ada County for the next 100 years. According to Ted Hutchinson, the current Ada County landfill director, the most environmentally safe and economical way to handle Ada County’s waste stream is to use the new north cell.

    It’s difficult to believe you’ve worked in a WTE facility, the misinformation you’ve spouted out and ignorance you’ve displayed about the Dynamis fiasco give off the odor of a Dynamis corporate or county minion.

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