Fredericton landfill to sell electricity
Methane gas will be used to power about 2,000 homes
The Fredericton Region Solid Waste Commission has reached a deal with NB Power to sell power produced from methane gas to the utility.
It's expected to produce 2.1 megawatts of renewable energy, which is enough power to heat and light about 2,000 homes.
It will also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as odour from the landfill, said Gordon Wilson, the commission's chief executive officer.
The commission has invested more than $6 million in the project, said Wilson.
But it will bring in money for the landfill, he said.
"I would say over the 20 years it would be probably in the excess of $20 million for us. That's what it means to us, net profit."
Energy Minister Craig Leonard is pleased that a deal, which has been in the works for five years, has finally been reached.
"It's a pleasure to be involved in a story related to gas that's not quite as controversial as some of the other ones we have been dealing with lately," he said, referring to shale gas exploration and development.
The commission expects to have two generators installed next year.
The 20-year deal will take effect in 2013.
Methane gas is produced as garbage decomposes in a landfill.
At most landfills, the methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas, is simply burned off.
In August, 2010, the Fundy Region Solid Waste Commission, which serves the Greater Saint John area, became the first working landfill in Atlantic Canada to supply green energy to the energy grid.
Methane gas is piped out of the Crane Mountain Landfill into a gas cooling system and then into a generating unit to produce and transmit electricity.
It produces enough electricity to power about 800 homes, which is sold to Saint John Energy.
The gas utilization system eliminates an equivalent of 60,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually from the environment, according to the commission's web site.