In 2016, Vincent White pitched the idea of an Ecovillage to the Town of Lane. He followed with an update in 2019. The CEO of Cutting Edge Techno Solutions (CETS) wishes to build a community from the ground up and incorporate a mobile recycling system that will take trash from nine surrounding counties and turn the trash into a product that can be sold or used to power the village. White signed a memorandum of understanding, a statement of wishful intent between the Town of Lane and CETS to form a relationship. Nothing will occur until permits are approved and as of March 2020, nothing of substance has transpired.
White said CETS would be structuring a $300 million Corporate Green Bond to fund the design, build installation process and management for the ten-county regional delivery of Waste to Energy stations. Green Bonds are used to fund environmental improvement projects, and were developed over a decade ago by the Climate Bonds Initiative, a London-based group.
The term Green Bond can be confusing as standards aren’t defined. Also there is a lack of systematic impact reporting (provides transparent insight into the environmental performance of projects financed through the bonds) and the bonds have been used for not-so-green projects. According to governing.com, it wasn’t until 2013 that the first green bond issuance made its way to the U.S. municipal market when Massachusetts sold $100 million in bonds to finance energy efficiency projects. Massachusetts, California, and New York are the most frequent issuers.
Documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show White informed Williamsburg County Government officials he had reached out to the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) about the permitting process. He stated DHEC is very interested in helping rollout the plan across the state, as it’s a recommendation based on their input in the current waste-recycling bill before the State government to use the type of system they are proposing. According to DHEC Media Relations Chris Delcamp, White has reached out to DHEC to receive information on the permitting process; however, DHEC has not received any applications for permits for the project at this time from any of these entities or related to the site.
In March 2018, a similar idea was presented to Batavia, New York town officials. Christopher Wilson, a business development president for CETS Waste to Energy made the pitch. In a March 23, Batavia Daily News article it was reported the Planning Board saw no reason to immediately act on the presentation from CETS Waste to Energy citing they needed more evidence of the validity of the claims made and the viability of the proposal.
Williamsburg County Government and others have been leery in regards to the waste proposal or gasification system that White says is a closed system. “They all produce waste gas that has smells associated with it,” said Stan Barnett. “It’s not possible to do what he proposes to do without that happening.” Sierra Club South Carolina Chapter Coordinator Lori Dunn agrees that though the technology is marketed as a safe way to remove garbage to get to a net zero carbon emission the claim is not completely true. “All these systems ultimately are vented and it affects the air quality in the surrounding area. They’re highly toxic,” Dunn said in a February interview. Because no permit application has been filed, DHEC could not comment on the type of gasification system or mobile unit being considered.
On March 9, The News requested the following information from Mr. White:
A copy of degrees in Engineering and Architecture
Contact info for gasification system technical advisors
Lawyers representing you and your company
Statement by any financial group associated with your company and the Ecovillage venture
Any permits applied for
Financial statement provided to Williamsburg County government
Reference when he applied for the UN Summit
As of March 17, White has not responded to the request.
During the 2016 meeting in Lane, Chrita Paulin, CEO of Sunny State Solar Solutions based in Florida, said she would be heading up the training side of the initiative, dubbed the Sunny Lane Community Project. She said training would include solar installation thereby allowing the worker to become certified to work as an installer. The project was scheduled to have begun in 2019. The News requested a follow-up on the project twice but have not received any information, including the name of current CEO of the company.
On the local level Kerry L. Wilson, President & CEO of SC Excellence Management & Training, LLC announced Lane Training Center was approved as an NCCER accredited training unit and received an Authorized Training Unit Certification from National Construction Center for Education and Research.
White said he would be presenting the $1.5 billion project to the UN in June. A copy of his application indicates he applied and was accepted for a sponsorship to the Global Climate Leaders Summit for $100,000.