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Nation’s Capital to explore options for recovering energy from waste

Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray recently announced the winners of the Sustainable DC Budget Challenge, and a waste-to-energy proposal from the Department of Public Works (DPW) was one of twelve projects selected to receive a grant from the 32 proposals submitted. The DPW received a $300,000 grant to study the costs and benefits of establishing a waste-to-energy conversion facility in the District.

DC’s decision to study a waste-to-energy program is the latest example of how governments are considering technologies that convert non-recycled waste into various forms of energy. Mayor Gray noted that the programs selected for the sustainability project could positively impact the community in many ways:

These grants represent down payments on the Sustainable DC plan – down payments that will jumpstart implementation and test ideas with a large potential for change. This is an example of how we can promote Sustainable DC’s ‘triple bottom line’ philosophy — improving our environment, our economy, and our community simultaneously. It is the type of innovative investment the District must continue to make as we work to become the healthiest, greenest, most livable city in the nation.

Washington, D.C. DPW director William O. Howland, Jr. spoke about waste-to-energy as a means to create value for the District of Columbia:

The District has an opportunity to craft a long-term waste-management strategy that redefines solid waste from a burden to a resource with economic, political and social value. This award will fund a comprehensive feasibility study to answer the question of how the District can best capture energy from materials that are routinely discarded as trash.

As a new Congress begins to ponder an “all of the above” energy plan for the nation, this is another important example of how energy recovery is building momentum – right in Congress’ own backyard.

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