Generating power from recycled waste is Covanta Energy's forte. A major operating unit of Covanta Holding, the alternative energy power producer has interests in more than 40 specialized power plants, primarily in the US. Its plants use a variety of waste fuels, including municipal solid waste, and wood waste (biomass). Covanta Energy's specialized plants can convert 20 million tons of waste into more than 9 million MW hours of electricity annually and create 9 billion pounds of steam that are sold to a range of industries. The company also provides waste management and recycling services.
Covanta Energy's energy-from-waste plants collectively save power generators the need to use 20 million barrels of oil equivalent each year, or enough energy to produce electricity for approximately one million homes across North America.
In addition to its US plants, the company also operates energy-from-waste facilities in Canada, China, and Italy, and is pursuing additional growth opportunities in Europe.
In 2011 Covanta Energy launched Covanta 4Recovery which merged its merchant services subsidiaries (Covanta Secure Services and TransRiver Marketing Company) to create greater efficiencies and better meet the increasing demands and geographic scope of its customers. Covanta 4Recovery offers waste procurement and logistics, environmental services, metals recycling, e-waste recycling, and other services.
Covanta Energy has grown steadily through acquisitions. In a major expansion, in 2010 it acquired Montenay International (which handled the bulk Veolia Environnement US waste to energy operations) for $450 million.
To raise cash to pay down debt, Covanta Energy has sold some of its international assets. In 2011 the company sold its interests in the Quezon coal-fired electric generation facility located in the Philippines to Electricity Generating PCL for $215 million. It also sold its stake in the Samalpatti facility in India.