A year ago, Biddeford was on the road to a solution of the long-standing problems posed by its downtown waste-to-energy plant.

But last January, the city’s mayor, Joanne Twomey, withdrew her support for a plan that would have turned the Maine Energy Recovery Corp. trash burner into a new kind of power plant.

That plan would have let MERC run on pellets made from trash at another location.

Twomey says now that she would prefer that the plant be closed completely rather than converted.

But the truth remains that it is still operating, accepting thousands of deliveries of municipal waste in trucks, clogging the city’s traffic and filling the air with the aroma of refuse.

The plan proposed by Cassella Waste Systems and agreed to by city and state officials in a task force created by Gov. Baldacci would not have resulted in the plant’s closure.

It would, however, reduce the number of trucks delivering waste and the pellets would have burned more efficiently and with less odor than what MERC is using today.

And the plant would have produced low-cost electricity that would have been sold by contract to the mill buildings that the city sees as its prime downtown economic development engine.

That might not have been all that Mayor Twomey wanted, but it’s more than she got. A lot more.

After she abandoned the deal, so did the state and thus Cassella has not moved forward with its plans. It’s not hard to see why a company that is anticipating a court or regulatory battle over its right to exist may not be interested in investing in new equiment.

The state, with its ability to raise money through bonding, was a key partner in this plan. After Biddeford pulled out of the deal that Twomey helped negotiate, state economic development officials put their focus on projects that were wanted by others.

It’s certainly possible that Cassella might have failed to move forward even if Twomey hadn’t pulled out. The company is subject to a variety of economic forces independent of the Biddeford mayor changing her mind.

But a year later, it’s safe to say that progress on the MERC issue is as far away now as it ever was, and with a new administration in Augusta and understandable frustration with Twomey, it will be a while before anything as good as this deal gets proposed again.