Delaware Landfills Produce Clean Power

Published Date: 
Wed, 11/15/2006

Ameresco LogoGeorgetown, Delaware - November 15, 2006 - Two solid waste landfills are about to take center stage in the ultimate recycling project – using the landfill gas generated from decomposing organic waste to produce renewable energy. The landfills, located in Kent and Sussex Counties, are owned and operated by the Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA).

“Reducing the burden on the environment and recycling all possible waste products is central to DSWA’s mission,” said N.C. Vasuki, DSWA’s CEO. “The landfill gas-to-energy projects successfully utilize a resource that would have otherwise been wasted, and in the process, produce benefits for the landfill, the environment, and the local community.”

DSWA had the vision to recycle the landfill gas in a beneficial way, and selected Ameresco, an energy service company with an expertise in landfill gas project development, to make that vision a reality. Ameresco developed, owns, and operates the two multi-million dollar landfill gas-to-energy power plants at DSWA’s Southern and Central Landfills. Thousands of tons of naturally occurring methane, a potent greenhouse gas, will now be captured and converted into “green” electricity.

“With these two new plants coming into service, DSWA once again demonstrates its vision and commitment to environmental leadership” said George P. Sakellaris, President and CEO, Ameresco. “Ameresco is proud to be a part of such a forward looking project, especially one that has such tremendous community and environmental benefits.”

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. The Delaware projects will reduce direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 60,000 tons a year, a local environmental benefit equivalent to removing more than 60,000 cars from Delaware’s roads, or offsetting the use of over 1,500 rail cars of coal annually.

Until now, the methane gas was safely extracted at the landfill sites through wells and pipes buried in the landfills and combusted in a flare. The gas will now be diverted from the flare to the landfill gas plants equipped with specialized GE/Jenbacher engines designed to burn non-pipeline gases such as landfill gas. The seven engines are expected to produce a combined 7.4 megawatts (MWs) of electricity – enough to meet the annual power needs of over 4,500 homes.

Constellation NewEnergy, North America’s largest competitive power supplier, has signed a 10-year agreement to purchase the power from the two plants. “Constellation NewEnergy is excited to partner with DSWA, Ameresco, and GE to bring these renewable energy sources online,” said Constellation NewEnergy’s Bruce McLeish, Vice President, Wholesale Origination. “The competitive power market in Delaware is expanding rapidly and competition is driving these innovations in renewable energy.”

The State of Delaware has a renewable portfolio standard which requires power providers to have 10 percent of their power come from renewable resources by 2019. Northeast Energy Systems, GE Energy’s Jenbacher distributor for the northeast region, provided the engine-generator sets, application engineering, and will provide parts and service support for operations.

“Northeast Energy Systems (NES) shares the project partners' interest in renewable energy project development, and we are proud to deliver the best available technology for green power production,” said Al Clark, Vice President-General Manager.

GE’s Energy Financial Services unit is financing the project and noted the positive impact on the environment. "Combining our financing and equipment, the Delaware landfill gas projects demonstrate how GE's ecomagination initiative is helping customers meet environmental challenges," said Kevin Walsh, a managing director and leader of renewable energy investments at GE Energy Financial Services, which financed the purchase of the gas-to-energy engines. Ecomagination is GE’s commitment to expand its portfolio of cleaner energy products while reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions.

Governor Ruth Ann Minner applauded the public/private partnership and its positive impact on the environment and the State of Delaware. “The launch of these two landfill gas projects marks a new era for alternative energy in Delaware,” Governor Minner said. “By creating more diversity in our energy supply choices, we are setting the stage for improving our environment and our economy.”

Mr. Richard Pryor, Chairman of DSWA concluded, "Producing green power from landfill gas is a win-win for the environment and the community. And for DSWA, it is the ultimate in recycling. We are proud to partner with these companies and support this visionary project."

###

Related Links: The Delaware News-Journal editorial board writes in support of Ameresco landfill to gas projects: "Advancing methane technology to lower counties makes sense"

Delaware State News reports on latest Ameresco landfill to gas projects: "Landfill gas power source; Two new plants generate electricity at Downstate sites."

Download a PDF of this release

Release Date: 11/15/2006