- Waste Management recently celebrated the opening of a new $14.5 million landfill gas-to-energy project at its Redwood Landfill in Novato, CA. Managed by not-for-profit utility provider MCE, this 3.9 MW facility will produce consistent energy for more than 5,000 households.
- Republic Services held a grand opening for its own landfill gas project at the Pinehill Landfill in Kilgore, TX, as reported by the Longview News-Journal. The facility, operated by Morrow Renewables, will convert biogas into 404.7 million cubic yards of renewable natural gas (RNG) per year that will be used as far away as California.
- A third project was also announced this week at the Hamm Sanitary Landfill in Lawrence, KS, as reported by the Lawrence Journal-World. Hamm partnered with Renewable Power Producers, a subsidiary of Enerdyne, on a $20 million RNG project that also includes a seven-mile pipeline.
The environmental effects of methane are well known at this point, making biogas management a key responsibility at landfills around the country. While pending EPA rules may still be up in the air, all sites are already expected to keep their emissions in check, per existing regulations. Though in many cases this still means capturing the gas for controlled flaring, as was the case at Waste Management's Redwood Landfill, rather than capturing it for some form of energy creation.
Whether it makes more sense to burn that biogas for electricity or convert it to RNG often depends on the unique characteristics of each site, how close it is to existing infrastructure and how conducive state regulations are to new projects, among other factors. The existence of state or local programs that incentivize such projects, particularly RNG facilities that can help power low-emission vehicle fleet, is often a driving factor too. From the perspective of utilities and local governments, the projects are often seen as a plus because they help generate a reliable source of renewable energy to power households or fuel vehicles.
For the waste industry, this has also been a popular move, with most every major company pursuing new projects to capture value from their landfill biogas in some form. Both Waste Management and Republic Services have been especially focused on these projects as part of their broader sustainability initiatives. The opening of three new projects this week in states with widely different environmental policies shows that the economic case is growing stronger for such investments around the country.