Reported by: Linda Watkins-Bennett
Butte County's landfill will soon be used as an "energy farm" ... by converting landfill gas to produce electricity, and revenue.
Ground was broken on the county's newest renewable energy project, Thursday afternoon.
Bill Mannel is the Solid Waste Manager for Butte County Public Works. He says, "It's definitely progressive, there are about 23 hundred landfills throughout the nation, and only 300 gas to energy projects."
The plant at the Neal Road Waste and Recycling Facility will be the only one of its kind north of Sacramento. Ameresco Energy will collect methane gas there produced by decaying organic materials ... and combust it to generate power. A portion of revenues from the sale of that power will be returned to the county.
Mannel says, "We're currently burning fuel. Now we can use the same gas to fuel 13 hundred homes initially, upwards of three thousand homes when fully it's built out."
The project also reduces co2 emissions ... the equivalent to removing more than 17 thousand cars from the road.
Mannel calls it "scaleable" to future needs. "The more waste that comes into the landfill in future years will generate more gas...power more homes... it's certainly a sustainable project."
The project should be on line by January.
Butte county also became one of the leading solar-energy generators in the country when it installed a 1.14 megawatt solar array, in 2004.