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ReVenture Trash-To-Electricity Plant Downsizes Again

The proposed Reventure trash-to-electricity power plant keeps getting smaller and smaller. Developers behind the ReVenture project have scrapped their plan to use all of Mecklenburg County's household trash. That's because the plant will now be much smaller than envisioned. As a result, Mecklenburg County will continue to landfill its trash in Cabarrus County for at least the next five years. Originally, developers wanted to burn Mecklenburg County's household trash to produce at least 40 megawatts of electricity a year. That's enough to power 40,000 homes. Then it got reduced to 20 megawatts. And now? "The utility that we're negotiating with has made it clear that 10 megawatts is the right size project, so those are parameters that we have to live within." said Tom McKittrick, president of Forsite Development, the developer of ReVenture. ReVenture is going smaller because Duke Energy has told ReVenture it no longer plans to buy as much electricity as it had intended. McKittrick blames uncertainty over the future of state law that regulates how much electricity must come from renewable sources. With the smaller facility, another controversy is buried. There are no longer plans to dispose of ReVenture's ash and other left over debris in the Foxhole Landfill in Ballantyne. And Mecklenburg County will now sign a five-year contract to continue to send its trash to the landfill near Charlotte Motor Speedway. The ReVenture option is off the table, at least for now, because the plant no longer needs so much trash. Mecklenburg County Commission Chairwoman Jennifer Roberts still likes the idea of someday sending the County's trash to ReVenture. "I think waste energy is still a viable means of both reducing your solid waste and producing cleaner energy than many other forms now in the market," Roberts said. "In the long run, waste energy is still an option in the future for Mecklenburg County." ReVenture developers now plan to buy trash from a private hauler. McKittrick says some of the trash will likely come from Mecklenburg County.