Hawaii's H-Power doen't have enough trashUPDATED 7:37 PM HST Jun 30, 2014Video Transcript
Garbage goes in, energy comes out. It's a pretty simple concept at H-Power, unless there's not enough trash! Believe it or not ... Oahu is not meeting its daily trash requirements for the H-Power plant... Now a Honolulu city councilman is offering a possible solution. KITV4's Andrew Pereira has the story, all new tonight at 6 ... Andrew? Kenny, Paula... Council Chairman Ernie Martin says his proposed bill would help justify the money we spend to keep H-Power up and running. 01 11 37 From the mountain of trash being tossed around at H-power, it's tough to imagine the plant is suffering from a shortage of trash. But that's exactly the case - this mountain of garbage needs to grow. STANLEY CHANG: "WE HAVE ONE OF THE MOST AGGRESSIVE RECYCLING PROGRAMS IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY BELIEVE IT OR NOT. AND SO A LOT OF OUR WASTE STREAM IS BEING RECYCLED AND PEOPLE ARE ALSO THROWING AWAY LESS." After a third boiler went online in October 2012, HPower requires 3,000 tons of trash per day to produce up to 70 megawatts of daily energy. However the plant is averaging 2,200 tons of trash per day while generating 50 megawatts of power. ANDREW PEREIRA: "BUT A BILL INTRODUCED BY COUNCILMAN ERNIE MARTIN HOPES TO CHANGE THAT BY ALLOWING THE CITY TO WAIVE TIPPING FEES FOR 30 DAYS IF HPOWER IS NOT RECEIVING ENOUGH COMBUSTIBLE MATERIALS." ERNIE MARTIN: "JUST TO CREATE A MECHANISM THAT WE CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE AND MAXIMIZE OUR INVESTMENT AT THE THIRD BOILER." The third HPower boiler cost city taxpayers $302 million dollars. And regardless of how much trash the plant receives or the amount of energy it produces, our cash-strapped city pays HPower operator Covanta $40 million per year. ERNIE MARTIN: "I TEND TO SIDE WITH THE SIDE OF THE CRITICS THAT PERHAPS WE DID MAKE AN INVESTMENT THAT PERHAPS COULD'VE BEEN BETTER SPENT ELSEWHERE." Councilman Stanly Chang's Public Works Committee will take up Martin's bill next month. Chang still supports the expansion of HPower, but wants to hear more about the proposal to waive tipping fees. Tipping fees at HPower are $91 per ton. STANLEY CHANG: "WE JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THE BILL IS GOING TO BE FAIRLY APPLIED TO EVERYBODY. AND SO, AS WE'RE LOOKING FOR MORE FEEDSTOCK WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THE RULES ARE GOING TO APPLY EQUALLY." Under the contract with Covanta, the city sells energy produced at HPower to Hawaiian Electric Company at 6 cents to 15 cents per kilowatt hour. Kenny?