One of the pieces of Connecticut’s complicated environmental policy puzzle is the trash-to-energy plant in Hartford’s South Meadows neighborhood.

It’s the last publicly owned trash-to-energy plant in Connecticut, and it has been converting waste from dozens of towns into energy for decades. But its operator, Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority (MIRA), says it will not have the funds to continue operating the plant after Aug. 31. MIRA’s board of directors voted in May to begin shutting down the plant.

This is because, over the past two years, MIRA officials have been trying to combine state bonding, a new power-purchase agreement for the energy generated by the plant, and renewable energy credits to keep the cost of disposal to about $95 per ton after the plant is renovated. But without those three additional revenue sources, towns will have to pay $145 per ton for their waste disposal – a 42% increase over the current rate. That was unacceptable to municipalities.

The closure will force MIRA’s member towns to take on the expense of trucking their waste to landfills in other states. Katie Dykes – commissioner of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection – calls that a huge step backward.

MIRA was contacted for comment several times for this story.

Adam Chiara

Adam Chiara is an associate professor of communication at the University of Hartford and a multimedia storyteller.