The Maui News - Mayor Alan Arakawa's administration is finalizing negotiations with California-based Anaergia Services for the proposed Central Maui waste-to-energy plant, county officials said last week. A proposal is expected to appear before the Maui County Council for approval "within a month or two."
If the council approves the project, it may come online as soon as 2016. The project would divert roughly 85 percent of waste away from the Central Maui Landfill and produce renewable fuels. County support for other recycling programs, like the "3 Can Plan" pilot program in South Maui, would likely be discontinued, according to county officials.
If the council rejects the proposal, plans for the waste conversion project may be scrapped.
"For the same amount of tax dollars we're spending now, we [Maui County] can get to 80 percent diversion, from [the current] 40 percent," said county Department of Environmental Management Director Kyle Ginoza. "It's the cheapest option. We don't have to spend money from the county because we're getting a private developer to come in and create the fuel. Their revenue stream will enact the project, rather than having it come from county taxpayers."
The county would pay Anaergia $68 per ton for waste disposal.
In April, the county chose Anaergia Services of Carlsbad, Calif., to build a $100 million-plus facility on county land near the Central Maui Landfill. The plant would consist of a processing facility to extract recyclable material and to convert residual material into refuse-derived fuel or liquefied natural gas.
Proponents of recycling initiatives expressed concerns with the proposed waste conversion plant. In addition, island businesses like Pacific Biodiesel and Maui EKO Compost would suffer. They already divert certain types of waste from the landfill and use it to run their operations.
Ginoza said he was sympathetic to business owners that may be negatively impacted, but he "owes it to the taxpayers" to weigh all the options.
"We're still in the process of figuring out what we want to do," Ginoza said.