New Courtice incinerator Strikes further Flaws

CLARINGTON — Clarington’s brand new energy-from-waste facility will be delayed a second time because the boilers aren’t operating correctly and the ongoing startup interval may cost Durham Region an additional $1 million.

“I would rather see it postponed and done right than rushed,” said Clarington Mayor Adrian Foster.

The Durham York Energy Centre facility, situated in Courtice, has been scheduled to be completely operational on Dec. 14, 2014. Now the Durham York Energy Centre isn’t predicted to be in full working order before the past quarter of 2015.

The significant systems of the EFW facility have been tested. The boiler temperature is large enough to the combustion process however the steam temperature isn’t high enough, and officials aren’t sure what the issue is, states Durham’s functions commissioner, Cliff Curtis.

The steam temperature has to be large enough to push the turbine-generator. If the steam is too trendy it can damage the turbine.

“It is like running a car without oil,” said Mr. Curtis.

Covanta, the business building and operating the facility for Durham and York regions, has taken the boilers down for modifications, based on Mr. Curtis. It is expected to take three weeks to the repairs and modifications. Afterward there will be a four-week demonstration interval, followed by a 30-day acceptance test.

“We are not getting the temperature we expected from the boiler. After we get the temperature up, I think everything will fall into place,” said Mr. Curtis. “It is Covanta’s problem to provide us the product that plays the way that they said, so they are likely to take the time that they need.”

The delay implies additional consultant costs for building management, legal advice and baseline ambient air monitoring. A Durham Region works report stated Durham’s share of the extra costs is $1 billion, that can be offered from a temporary draw on the good waste management reserve fund.

“What’s the final price likely to look like?” Said Clarington Regional Councillor Joe Neal, who added he has concerns regarding the emissions fulfilling the Ministry of Environment rules. “There are clearly issues with getting it started out.”

Since Jan. 16, Durham has been charging Covanta a $10,000-a-day overdue fee for every day the EFW facility isn’t fully operational. The bill was delivered to Covanta, but it has not been paid according to Mr. Curtis. It had been a part of a testing stage before the facility opens completely.

Durham cancelled landfill contracts and started sending crap into the Courtice facility. Some garbage was burnt in the EFW plant throughout the test phase, without generating power to the grid. Covanta has also been sending the garbage to its incineration at New York state, or landfills from the Niagara region.

Until the EFW facility is ready to go, the Region simply pays Covanta half cost of the agreed upon per-tonne charge. However, Durham isn’t earning any cash before the plant is fully operational and promoting electricity back onto the grid.

“We are still on budget. I would rather be receiving power sales on the grid,” said Mr. Curtis.

There are a few loose ends that could end up costing Durham Region more cash. There’s still debate with former home owners around the value of the property expropriated for the facility, and a ruling isn’t expected until fall of next year. The final price for the utility building and connection costs is anticipated in coming months. The baseline ambient air monitoring runs till the EFW facility is operational, so the delay in opening means a continuing monitoring price.

“There is some minor price over-runs on some of the smaller items but generally we’re fiscally on track to bring this on budget and we look forward to having it on line by the end of the calendar year,” said Mr. Curtis.


The Durham York Energy Centre is designed to process around 140,000 tonnes of waste every year, and generate 17.5 gross megawatts of renewable energy — enough to electricity between 10,000 and 12,000 homes. A vital part of the financial case for the energy-from-waste facility is dependent upon it generating electrical energy earnings.

The Durham York Energy Centre is designed to process up to 140,000 tonnes of waste each year, and generate 17.5 gross megawatts of renewable energy — enough to power between 10,000 and 12,000 homes. A key part of the economic case for the energy-from-waste facility depends on it generating electrical power revenue.