Jefferson City Landfill Produces Green Power, Steam
Jefferson City, Missouri – April 26, 2007 – The Jefferson City Landfill is about to make history by using the landfill gas generated from decomposing organic waste to produce renewable energy for a local community and steam for a state prison.
In November 2004, voters in Columbia, Missouri, approved a proposal to adopt a local renewable portfolio standard (RPS), which requires the city’s municipal utility, Columbia Water & Light (CW&L), to generate or purchase renewable-energy. To meet their needs, CW&L selected Ameresco, an energy services company and experienced developer of clean energy projects, to build a 3.2 megawatt (MW) landfill gas electricity generation facility.
“This project will make up 2 percent of CW&L’s energy portfolio, and will provide us with a fixed cost green power source for the next 20 years,” said CW&L’s Director, Dan Dasho. Ameresco will develop, own, and operate the multi-million dollar landfill gas-to-energy power plant using the gas generated at the Jefferson City Landfill,
“Ameresco is proud to be a part of such a forward looking project, especially one that has such tremendous community and environmental benefits,” said George P. Sakellaris, President and CEO of Ameresco.
Allied Waste Services, the owner and operator of the landfill, supported Ameresco’s efforts to put the naturally occurring methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is now captured and burned at the landfill, to beneficial use. “The landfill gas-to-energy project successfully utilizes a resource that would have otherwise been wasted, and in the process, produces benefits for the landfill, the environment, the state, and the local community,” said Tim Ralston, Manager of Landfill Gas Development for Allied Waste.
The gas generation project took another innovative twist. The State of Missouri was interested in reducing costs at state-owned facilities. Ameresco suggested that the generation facility could be located on the property of a nearby local prison and use the waste heat from the engines to heat the prison’s water supply.
“The launch of this innovative project is a continuation of our commitment to renewable energy in Missouri,” Governor Matt Blunt said. “Whether its fuel from our corn and soybean fields or alternative power sources, with more diversity and choices in our energy supply we can become more energy independent, create jobs and improve our environment.”
Developing new sources of renewable energy will lead to improved local and global air quality by offsetting the need to use other, more polluting fuels for energy. This project will reduce direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 23,288 tons of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) a year, a local environmental benefit equivalent to removing more than 30,000 cars from Missouri’s roads, or planting nearly 40,000 trees annually. Until now, the methane gas was safely extracted through wells and pipes buried in the landfill and then combusted in a flare. The gas will now be diverted from the flare to the landfill gas plant, which will be equipped with specialized engines designed to burn landfill gas.
The three engines are expected to produce a combined 3.1 megawatts of electricity – enough to meet the annual power needs of over 2,000 homes. Jim VanWeelden, Senior Vice President of Market Planning and Development for Allied Waste concluded, “Producing green power from landfill gas is a win-win for the environment and the community. And for Allied Waste, it is the ultimate in recycling.