The Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC), located in downtown Minneapolis, is a waste-to-energy facility that burns garbage to generate energy. HERC provides reliable, renewable electricity that is sold to Xcel Energy and steam that supplies the downtown district energy system and Target Field.
On behalf of Hennepin County, Covanta Energy is proposing that the HERC be allowed to operate at capacity, increasing the amount of electricity and steam produced at the facility. This would also increase the amount of waste processed at HERC.
Hennepin County and Covanta Energy have submitted an application to modify the operating permit for this proposal as required by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The MPCA will conduct an environmental review process intended to gather and disclose information about potential environmental impacts of the proposal.
Hennepin County is examining the potential to develop a district energy system that will use energy from HERC to provide an affordable and sustainable heating and cooling option for businesses and residents in the North Loop neighborhood of downtown Minneapolis.
Learn more about how waste is managed in the county and how HERC generates energy from garbage.
HERC – More Power than You Know:
Waste delivered to HERC is burned to create high-pressure steam that turns a turbine to generate electricity. A portion of the steam is diverted to the steam line. State-of-the-art emission control technology is used to treat flue gases and control air emissions.
There are two options for managing waste that cannot be recycled – you can bury it in a landfill or you can burn it for energy. Processing waste at HERC is environmentally and economically preferable to landfilling garbage.
HERC is just one part of the county’s solid waste management plan. The county’s plan outlines ambitions recycling goals and prioritizes helping residents and businesses reduce, reuse and recycle even more than they already do. The county’s plan has been approved by the State of Minnesota and is consistent with state laws, policies and goals.
Answers to frequently asked questions, including:
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