The massive garbage burner in downtown Minneapolis is slated to get a major management change.
The Hennepin County Board unanimously approved Tuesday an agreement with Maple Grove-based Great River Energy, rejecting a proposed contract with long-standing garbage burner operator Covanta.
That means that Delaware-based Covanta will no longer run the Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC), a 15-acre facility near Target Field, starting in 2018.
Also Tuesday, U.S. District Judge David Doty denied Covanta’s request for a temporary restraining order against the county, saying that “the greater public interest here is in maintaining a well-functioning HERC facility.”
The management switch ends the county’s relationship with Covanta after more than 25 years. County officials said the $25.5 million contract with Great River Energy, which will run for nearly 16 months, will save the county $2 million a year.
“We have the chance to enter into an agreement that is better financially, that has better controls and potentially promises a better relationship than we’ve had with Covanta,” County Board Chairwoman Jan Callison said.
Last month, Covanta sued Hennepin County in federal court, arguing that the county sabotaged negotiations over the multimillion-dollar contract. According to court documents, Covanta said that it had notified the county in 2014 that it would be extending the contract another seven years but that the county “sabotaged the negotiations by insisting that Covanta agree to an entirely new set of contract terms” that shifted many risks, liabilities and responsibilities to the company and eliminated revenue sources.