- A $60 million waste-to-energy plant has launched at Irvine, CA's Bowerman Landfill, able to generate 160,000 megawatt-hours a year from methane gas. This will bring the total electricity produced annually by Orange County landfills, including Olinda Landfill in Brea and the Prima Deshecha Landfill in San Juan Capistrano, to 380,000 megawatt-hours.
- Built by Bowerman Power, a subsidiary of Pittsburgh, PA-based Montauk Energy, the new plant has seven Caterpillar reciprocating engines that convert compressed and cleaned methane gas.
- Bowerman Power/Montauk will pay the county $1.62 million annually for 20 years and will sell the electricity to Anaheim Public Utilities to power homes, businesses, and schools, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Now that Bowerman has come on board as a renewable energy site, every one of Orange County’s major disposal sites has a gas-to-electricity plant. "For decades, we've taken all this trash in and we've simply burned the gas off into the air. Now we're capturing it and we're converting it to energy," said Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer to the Los Angeles Times.
"To see that something like that could be put together in a relatively short period of time [14 months] in a highly regulated environment like California is nothing short of miraculous," he said.
But if you look back before construction began, the plant did not exactly come up over night.
The company and Orange County had gone back and forth from the time the developer bought the landfill gas rights in the late 1990s, with plans finally beginning to move forward in 2008, then stalling.