Pittsburgh-based International Electric Power
(IEP) has signed an agreement with the Haitian government to build a $250 million plant that will convert waste into energy, create 2,000 skilled local jobs and supply the residents with a greener source of electricity.
This marks the first major public/ private partnership with the government of Haiti since the devastating 2010 earthquake, says Edward Rawson, vice president of development for IEP.
Called Project Phoenix, the operation will not only help to clear the waste-strewn streets of Port-au-Prince, a major health problem, but supply the country with a renewable fuel source, jobs and cleaner air.
It will also protect the aquifer and coastal waters in the region from contamination.
IEP has assembled a world-class team of Haitian and international companies to complete the project. Two operations will be established.
Ros Roca of Spain, the largest manufacturer of waste collection systems in the world, is a partner in the effort to remove trash in the seven municipalities of greater Port-au-Prince, with the assistance of the government and private collectors.
IEP will build the state-of-the-art, waste management and power facility on 400 acres of land about 18 km north of Port-au- Prince, providing 30 megawatts of electricity to residents.
Only 40% of all trash in the city is currently collected, resulting in high rates of tuberculosis and related health issues, says Rawson who has spent years in Haiti as both a volunteer and IEP team member.
Rawson's Pittsburgh family has been involved in helping the people of Haiti for years. His father, Ian Rawson, is the managing director of Hopital Albert Schweitzer. His mother raises funds for the Hopital and is involved with a project to plant millions of trees in Haiti. His grandparents, Larimer Mellon Jr. and Gwen Grant Mellon, established Hopital Albert Schweitzer in 1956.
"When you drive around Haiti, the trash in the street causes traffic jams," he adds. "About 1,600 tons of trash are produced in Port-au-Prince every day. Much of it is burned in people's homes, or ends up in canals. No one can keep up with it."
Not only will the trash issue be addressed, but a recycling program will be established, existing landfills will be lined and a composting system will sell to local farmers. The project will employ 2,000 people directly and another 8,000 indirectly.
IEP, a for-profit, privately held energy company based downtown in Gateway Two, has strong ties to Haiti and other developing nations, such as Pakistan, where it does business. A five-member team from Pittsburgh has been working on the project for the past two years.
"Our motto is doing well by doing good," says Rawson. "We are working in countries where most people don't want to work because of the risk. Our goal is to create and do things that are good for the country."
Source: Ed Rawson, IEP
Image of waste strewn streets in Haiti courtesy of IEP