3,000 HOMES COULD BE POWERED BY ENERGY FROM SANTA CRUZ LANDFILL
SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, CA (February 20, 2006) – The Cities of Alameda and Palo Alto have begun benefiting from “green” electricity generated by landfill gas produced by Santa Cruz County’s trash. The electricity is produced at a newly operational landfill gas-to-energy plant at Santa Cruz County’s Buena Vista Landfill located in Watsonville, CA.
Ameresco, Inc., North America’s largest independent energy solutions provider, will announce the full operation and completion of its landfill gas-to-energy plant in a ribbon-cutting ceremony later this week. In a four-way initiative, Ameresco will purchase landfill gas from Santa Cruz County’s solid waste disposal facility and use it to produce renewable energy for sale to the City of Palo Alto and Alameda Power & Telecom. The new facility will generate 3.2 megawatts of alternative energy – enough power for 3,000 average homes.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the project will be held on February 24, 2006, at the Buena Vista Landfill. This is the first of many renewable energy assets that Ameresco will have in operation in California. Invitees to the event include City, County and State government officials.
“California, like the United States, faces a need to produce more domestic, alternative energy resources that have a positive impact on our environment,” said Ameresco Vice President, Michael T. Bakas. “Ameresco is proud to be in a long-term relationship with the County of Santa Cruz, Alameda Power & Telecom and the City of Palo Alto that has brought this exciting renewable energy project into commercial operation.”
Previously, the landfill gas – a by-product of the natural decomposition of trash – was flared in order to prevent it from escaping to the environment. Methane, which makes up approximately fifty percent of landfill gas, is twenty-one times more potent than carbon dioxide, the reference gas for global warming. This new, multi-million dollar facility captures the gas and uses it as fuel to generate power for homes and businesses in Alameda and Palo Alto.
In addition, “green” electricity from the new facility should help reduce the need for energy from traditional power plants that consume fossil fuels. This would improve air quality by an amount equivalent to removing more than 27,000 cars from the highway – or preventing the use of 286,000 barrels of oil annually.
“More than 80% of the power consumed in Alameda is generated using renewable resources, so the Buena Vista project is truly an appropriate addition to our power portfolio,” added Valerie Fong, General Manager of Alameda Power & Telecom. “Environmental responsibility is a core value in our community.”
“Palo Alto’s strong environmental ethic began in the 1960s with major investments in hydroelectric resources, and it continues today through supporting renewable energy projects like this one,” said Girish Balachandran, Assistant Director of Resource Management at City of Palo Alto Utilities. “By securing this long-term contract for landfill gas, we can continue to serve our customers reliably and responsibly through our ongoing commitment to clean energy.”
“The Santa Cruz County Department of Public Works has been working many years to develop this renewable energy resource as part of our overall commitment to the preservation of natural resources through conscientious waste management practices,” said Patrick Mathews, Recycling and Solid Waste Services Manager, Santa Cruz County Public Works. “Beneficial use of the landfill methane derived from our community’s waste stream has been one of our highest resource conservation priorities and we are pleased to be working with such a committed partner in Ameresco.”