Delaware Electric Cooperative has signed an agreement to purchase power produced at the Delaware Solid Waste Authority’s Landfill in Sandtown. The Greenwood-based Cooperative will purchase two megawatts of power produced at the landfill, enough to power 1,000 homes.
Ameresco, a leading energy efficiency and renewable energy company, will expand its existing renewable energy power plant to add two new methane-fueled engines. Those engines will convert methane gas produced by waste at the landfill into energy, which will be delivered directly to members.
“Delaware Electric Cooperative is proud to partner with DSWA and Ameresco on this project. Many people have no idea that methane gas can be used to generate energy. We are excited to seize on the opportunity to turn that gas into energy for Co-op members,” said Bill Andrew, president and CEO of Delaware Electric Cooperative.
Ameresco will fund the construction of the project and the energy produced at the Sandtown landfill will be purchased by DEC at a competitive price, with no impact on member rates.
“Ameresco is pleased to work with our long term partner, DSWA, to expand our existing facility and generate an additional local source of renewable energy from the methane generated at DSWA’s Sandtown Landfill,” stated Michael Bakas, senior vice president, Ameresco. “In addition, we are excited to partner with the Delaware Electric Cooperative and assist them in realizing their sustainability objectives through the purchase of renewable energy for their members.”
Currently, engines at the Sandtown Landfill have the ability to produce three megawatts of power. After the new engines are built, the generating facility will be capable of producing five megawatts of power.
“DSWA’s central mission is to protect the environment,” said Pasquale S. Canzano, DSWA’s CEO. “This landfill gas-to-energy project will utilize a renewable resource that would have otherwise been wasted, producing benefits for the environment as well as the local community. As a Delaware Co-op member, DSWA is gratified to know that the energy we use will be a little more green.”
Construction of the new facility is expected to begin this summer and the engines could be operational by the end of 2013. This is the first time DEC will directly purchase energy produced by landfill gas. The Environmental Protection Agency says the construction of landfill gas-to-energy projects can reduce carbon dioxide and methane emissions from landfills by between 60 and 90 percent. This project will result in cleaner air in Kent County and reduce the release of greenhouse gasses from the landfill.
According to Andrew, “This agreement will allow the Co-op to buy energy generated right here in the First State, it will not affect member rates and the project will help DEC meet the state’s renewable energy requirements.”
State laws require utilities to generate or purchase 25 percent of their energy from renewable resources by 2025. Andrew said this new agreement will help the Co-op meet that goal.