This spreadsheet serves as an Input file to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's Waste-to-Energy System Simulation (WESyS) model developed in Stella Pro (isee systems, Lebanon, NH). WESyS is a national-level system dynamics model that simulates energy production from three sectors of the U.S. waste-to-energy industry: landfills, confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and publically owned treatment works (POTWs).
For our purposes, a scenario is a set of model conditions (i.e. parameter settings) that approximate a specified condition or potential reality. The rate-based development scenario outlined here represents the ability of publically owned treatment works (POTWs) to take advantage of rate of return regulation to recover the cost of capital associated with the development of waste-to-energy facilities (i.e., POTWs can recover costs by increasing the rates that they charge their customers for water treatment). Under rate-based financing, there is a tendency to invest in the most expensive technology. This is a well-recognized drawback of using a rate-based mechanism to cover capital investment. In California, recommendations have been made to limit rate-base increases to finance projects that directly tie into a state goal and increase demand for electricity. As a result, we limited the rate-based option to be available only to California wastewater treatement plants investing in electricity generation.