Sustainability
Palm Beach County Renewable Energy Facility #2

Palm Beach County, Fla.

Palm Beach County, Fla., is home to America’s largest waste-to-energy (WTE) facility and the first to be built in nearly 20 years, according to county waste officials.

Solid Waste Authority (SWA) of Palm Beach County constructed the WTE facility in the suburban West Palm Beach area to burn 3,000 tons per day of waste. The facility, along with the county’s Renewable Energy Facility #1, makes up the 1,300-acre Renewable Energy Campus, and has a combined capacity to process 5,000 tons of post-recycled municipal solid waste per day. The facilities have the potential to generate 150 megawatts (MW) of electricity daily. With the waste-to-energy project beginning in 2010, SWA officials had long been anticipating the facility’s commercial operation launch on July 18, 2015.

“The facility will provide solid waste management services and renewable energy to the citizens of Palm Beach County for generations,” says Patrick Carroll, director of facilities development for the waste authority.

SWA funded the $695 million project, which includes the facility, construction of a LEED Platinum rated education center, procurement, public outreach and permitting, with $600 million in capital funds as well as funding from bonding, advanced capacity payments from Florida Power and Light and existing capital.  

The idea for the facility began with authority’s 2004 master plan, which wanted the community to be able to handle the county’s expected exponential growth over the next 20 years. A review of new and emerging technologies revealed the benefits of mass burn technology, so the SWA began working towards creating the renewable energy campus. Construction of the Renewable Energy Facility #2 took three years.

Now in operation, the facility is expected to offer 65 new, full-time positions. The facility will help reduce landfill materials by 90 percent and significantly minimize the development of greenhouse gases.