No changes at Portsmouth plant

Published 10:34 pm Friday, January 30, 2015

The Southeastern Public Service Authority’s board of directors heard from the managing director of the new owner of the Portsmouth waste-to-energy plant during its Wednesday meeting.

Steve Herman of Energy Capital Partners assured the board there would be no changes at the plant, which SPSA sold to Wheelabrator Technologies in 2009. Wheelabrator was acquired by Energy Capital Partners from Waste Management last year.

“We are very pleased to have made our investment in Wheelabrator,” said Herman, who is a Suffolk native. “We were particularly impressed by Portsmouth. We have no plans to change anything or to reduce the workforce in Portsmouth.”

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When the sale took place in 2009, Wheelabrator paid $150 million cash, which SPSA used to retire part of its substantial debt — at the time, about $240 million.

Wheelabrator owns 15 waste-to-energy facilities, including the one in Portsmouth, as well as four independent power-producing facilities, four ash monofills and three waste transfer stations.

Herman said Energy Capital Partners has been pleased with the environmental record and availability record of the plants it has acquired.

Also during Wednesday’s meeting, consultant Bruce Howie gave a presentation on the various types of emerging waste disposal technologies. The board had asked for the information as part of the ongoing deliberations on whether the eight member communities will renew their use and support agreements with SPSA. They currently expire in January 2018.