Saturday, February 15, 2014

Post State of the Union Address – Waste-to-Energy addresses all of the President’s Issues on Environment

Guest Blog By Shlomi Palas,
CEO of Blue Sphere Inc. 

In his State of the Union address this month, President Obama pointed to his administration's 'all-of-the-above' energy policy as key to reducing US reliance on foreign oil while simultaneously cutting the country's carbon emissions.

shlomi palas, blue sphere inc
“Climate change is a fact," Obama said, addressing lawmakers he has largely sidestepped in pursuing his Climate Action Plan. "And when our children’s children look us in the eye, and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say, 'Yes, we did.' The reiteration of Obama's "all-of-the-above" energy policy rankled some across the energy-environment spectrum who see the policy as a sort of cop-out – promoting energy sources both old and new as by sidestepping the thorny issue prioritizing one over the other.

Clean-energy advocates have increasingly called on the president to ditch the agnostic approach and embrace what they say is a "best-of-the-above" energy policy. Fossil-fuel backers say "all-of-the-above" obscures a behind-the-scenes "war on coal" and resistance to new oil and gas drilling.
While advocates battle it out, one waste technology is riding the huge wave movement that is sweeping the US: Waste-to-Energy (WTE). Although President Obama’s speech does not mention the booming global WTE market segment because WTE is in its very early stages of adoption in the U.S.  We are seeing demand for WTE from municipalities and some of the largest companies are investing in the segment.
shlomi paras, blue sphere inc
My own company, Blue Sphere is about to break ground on its first WTE facility in the U.S. this year. The facility is backed by $17.8 million in project financing from Caterpillar (CAT) and over $6 million from a clean-tech fund. Duke Energy (DUK) and National Grid (NGG) have signed long term power purchase agreement with Blue Sphere. WTE platform tackles and solves THREE major issues which are mentioned in Obama’s speech.

•    WTE helps reduce carbon pollution
•    WTE contributes to conserve the land by diverting harmful organic waste to our Anaerobic Digester facility
•    WTE contributes to Obama’s target to reduce the use of fossil oil as we generate green electricity.

As a result of the President’s focus and supporting budgets, we begin to see a tectonic movement in a global multi-billion industry and WTE is at the fore front of it.
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About the Author:
 Mr. Shlomi Palas, CEO, is a clean-tech executive and entrepreneur with a large network in private and government sectors in North and South America, Europe, China and Africa. Prior to Blue Sphere, he was a business entrepreneur in the biodiesel industry, carrying out activities in China, Brazil and Africa. Earlier, as a Senior Partner at Mitzuv, a leading management consulting firm, Mr. Palas worked in China with the IFC (International Finance Corporation), a member of the World Bank Group, and with Israeli and Chinese companies. He has also held other senior executive positions, e.g. VP of Sales and Marketing at Office Depot, managing over 30,000 Israeli accounts, and President of Norix International, a NJ firm representing foreign companies interested in marketing their products in the USA. Mr. Palas holds a M.Sc. in Marketing from Baruch College - The City University of New York and a B.A. in Statistics and Management from Haifa University.