Idaho solid waste district approves plans for gas-to-energy facility at landfill
- The Southern Idaho Solid Waste District has announced plans for a $7.8 million gas-to-energy project at the Milner Butte Landfill in the city of Burley, as reported by the Times-News.
- The site receives 800 to 900 tons of waste per day from surrounding municipalities. Two 1.3 megawatt generators will be installed to start, followed by a third within the next five years, to potentially generate enough electricity for up to 5,000 homes.
- Officials estimate that the system will generate $31 million in revenue over the course of its 20-year energy purchase contract. This will leave the district with an estimated $7 million to $8 million in revenue.
Milner Butte has received about 3.3 million tons of waste since it opened in 1994 and is designed for up to 19 million tons, so district officials see this as a sensible long-term investment. Per environmental regulations, the site has been flaring gas since 2009 and reportedly processes at least 650 cubic feet of gas per minute.
This site had previously been identified as one of two good candidates for landfill gas-to-energy projects in the state by the Environmental Protection Agency. It will join three others that are already operational. The same dataset shows more than 400 candidate landfills around the country, and the biogas industry's involvement in the waste sector is growing fast.
Part of this trend has been driven by a shift away from flaring landfill gas, as well as the potential for profit. If adequate pipeline connections are available sites can also upgrade what they capture to renewable natural gas for even higher profits. As recently seen with BP's purchase of RNG assets from Clean Energy Fuels this is an area that has significant room for growth.
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