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Waste to Energy - 12/29/15

There has been a considerable amount of opposition to a proposed waste-to-energy plant proposed for South Baltimore, largely due to environmental considerations.  But there are parts of the world in which such plants have acquired considerable cachet and where communities compete to have them built. 

As reported in the New York Times, waste to energy plans have become both the mainstay of garbage disposal and a crucial source of fuel across Denmark, including in downtown Copenhagen.  Far clear than conventional incinerators, this new type of plant converts local trash into heat and electricity. 

Scores of filters catch pollutants that would have emerged from smokestacks just a decade ago.  In Denmark, these plants have not only diminished the nation’s energy costs and reliance on oil and gas, but also benefited the environment by diminishing the use of landfills and cutting carbon dioxide emissions. 

According to the Times, these plants run so cleanly that often more dioxin is now released from home fireplaces and backyard barbecues than from incineration.  Denmark is home to twenty nine such plants and ten more are planned or under construction.  Across Europe, there are about four hundred plants.

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.