First successful co-op-served landfill gas generation plant dedicated

The Erie Landfill gas plant is designed to be expanded to a potential output of 4.8 megawatts.

With the help of Tri-State board policy incentive programs offered to its member co-ops for development of local renewable energy projects, United Power (Brighton, Colo.) is the G&T’s first member system to add landfill gas generation to its growing renewable resource portfolio.

The Erie Landfill Gas to Energy Project, located about 25 miles north of Denver, celebrated the start-up of the 3.2-megawatt generating station with a ribbon cutting event earlier this month attended by local, state and U.S. government officials, as well as guests from United Power, Tri-State and other partners in this unique venture.

The landfill project is a renewable source of generation under Colorado’s Renewable Portfolio Standards. Simply put, it takes a naturally occurring byproduct of waste decomposition – methane – and gathers this gas to run a generator to produce electricity.

“Unlike some forms of renewable energy that can be intermittent in their output, the landfill gas plant is considered a baseload facility because it can produce energy on a consistent around-the-clock basis,” said Jerry Marizza, new energy program coordinator for United Power.  “This makes it a very valuable resource to United Power,” he added.

United Power’s Jerry Marizza stands in front of the two methane fueled generators at the Erie Landfill plant.

The Erie Landfill Gas to Energy Project draws methane from three adjacent landfill sites. Partners in the development of the project are Waste Connections, which owns, operates and develops the landfills for methane extraction and Landfill Energy Systems, which operates the gas plant and sells the electric generation to United Power under a 10-year Purchase Power Agreement.

In addition to the board policy incentive agreements that Tri-State has inked with United Power for the landfill gas project, the G&T has also assisted the co-op in providing its expertise in connecting this generating facility to the co-op’s system and Tri-State has also included the landfill gas plant in its own system resource plan.

If all goes as planned, the Erie Landfill Gas to Energy Project is projected to eventually be built out to generate up to 4.8 megawatts – enough capacity to power half of Erie’s 6,700 homes.

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