The contract with Peel Region may have been extinguished, but Algonquin Power’s Energy-From-Waste (EFW) facility in Brampton has found a new lease on life burning commercial and industrial trash from across Ontario.

The contract with Peel Region may have been extinguished, but Algonquin Power’s Energy-From-Waste (EFW) facility in Brampton has found a new lease on life burning commercial and industrial trash from across Ontario.

The contract with Peel Region may have been extinguished, but Algonquin Power’s Energy-From-Waste (EFW) facility in Brampton has found a new lease on life burning commercial and industrial trash from across Ontario.

“It (the transition) has not been completely seamless, but it’s been pretty good,” said Mike Griffin, Algonquin’s director of asset management.  

Algonquin’s 20-year contract with Peel officially ended Nov. 1, forcing the company to formulate a new game plan.

Algonquin Power and U-PAK, a Canadian recycling and waste management company, are about a month into a new agreement to coordinate supply waste to the EFW in Brampton.

The facility is converting about 500 tonnes of solid, non-hazardous waste per day (abut 187,000 tonnes a year) gathered mainly from businesses across Greater Toronto.  

Energy generated by Algonquin continues to be converted into steam, (which is sold to neighbouring paper mill Norampac) and electricity sold on the grid.

Algonquin converted 120,000 to 160,000 tonnes of Peel’s residential trash in to energy annually for two decades before councillors last year opted to “weigh the Region’s options for the future” and build a new thermal conversion facility.

The thermal technology used at Algonquin is considered antiquated and politicians agreed Peel requires more modern machinery to accommodate its long-term waste management needs.

As such, for the next five to seven years residential trash will be hauled to a landfill in Warwick, Ont. while Peel saves up enough cash to build a new multi-million dollar facility.

Peel’s director of waste management, Norman Lee, said his department will soon ask Council for final approval on a business case for Public-Private Partnership (P3) Canada.

If the Region’s application is approved, P3 Canada will fund up to 25 per cent of construction costs with Peel and a private partner covering the balance.

Cost to build a new conversion plant has been estimated between $300 and $400 million.

Peel’s decision to follow a different path has led Algonquin to pursue other business opportunities.

The facility had previously only been allowed to accept Peel’s waste and charged the municipality more than $100 per tonne of garbage for conversion.  

Last month, the province amended Algonquin’s existing Certificate of Approval, which now allows the company to accept waste from across Ontario.

Most of the trash is coming from around the GTA with small amounts being shipped in from north and west of the Region.

Tip fees on trash collected “is significantly below what Algonquin generated with Peel, said Griffin, noting the company estimates an operating profit of $2 million next year compared to the $6 to $7 million under the old contract.

The company is forecasting business will double over the next few years.

“We’ve got a significant marketing effort going and have found some pretty good opportunities that we’re starting to roll in,” Griffin said.   

The company is working its way through some growing pains associated with the transition, Griffin added.  

The plant has had to restructure meaning there have been some layoffs, although Griffin couldn’t pin down exactly how many jobs have been lost.

Until recently, the EFW employed about 60 people.