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Monday, April 21, 2014

Waste-to-energy investor seeks RFP release to move on

A Wisconsin-based investor that plans to build a $40 million to $50 million waste-to-energy project on Saipan to help prolong the Marpi landfill’s lifespan met once more with lawmakers on Friday, asking whether the CNMI government would soon issue a request for proposals for renewable energy production.

The energy produced is expected to be lower than the 40 cents or so per kilowatt-hour that Commonwealth Utilities Corp. currently charges.

“It is not only so much about having lower power costs, but more importantly, about prolonging the lifespan of the landfill. The investors are asking the government to issue an RFP so that investors like them can start formally offering their proposals for renewable energy,” Rep. Ray Tebuteb (Ind-Saipan) told Saipan Tribune.

Tebuteb, the acting House speaker on Friday, said that instead of trash continuously piling up and being compacted at the landfill, they could be converted into energy. There could also be reduced costs for maintaining and operating the landfill.

Alliance Federated Energy is proposing gasification, the process in which biomass such as waste from the Marpi landfill or trash from homes and businesses is converted into a fuel source.
Alliance Federated Energy president Ben VanKorn, their legal counsel, and Norman Tenorio of Joeten Enterprises, AFE’s local business partner, met with House members on Friday. They also separately met with Gov. Eloy S. Inos.

“There’s been so many investors visiting the CNMI, offering to develop renewable energy, but up to now, they can’t formally offer their plan because there’s no RFP yet,” Tebuteb added.

This is the second time in nine months that VanKorn and Tenorio met with lawmakers about their proposals.

Under AFE’s proposed project, the CNMI government will have to supply trash to Alliance Federated Energy and then buy the “byproduct” energy from the firm at a cost much lower than the rate paid by regular power customers.

AFE is a developer of renewable energy and related infrastructure projects focused on environmentally sustainable technologies, with a specific focus on plasma gasification technology to generate electric and thermal energy and bio-fuels, its company profile says.

The CNMI government is trying to tap alternative or renewable energy such as solar, wind and geothermal power as well as waste-to-energy, liquefied natural gas, and safe nuclear energy.

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