Harnessing Renewable Energy from Landfills

This week EPA recognized the accomplishments of a New England landfill methane partner that is generating renewable energy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

As an industry partner, Ameresco of Framingham, Mass., has continually shown leadership by developing innovative and flexible projects that harness the methane gas from landfills to produce electricity. In New England, Ameresco is the project developer at two locations-one at the Chicopee Landfill and, the other -- new this year -- at the Glendale Road Landfill in Northampton. They currently have a portfolio of thirteen operational projects, with another nine other projects in design or under construction.

With these 22 projects, Ameresco is making important strides in the effort to reduce harmful emissions from landfills. Together, these projects will generate in excess of 110 MWs of renewable energy (or equivalent). These projects also have a significant environmental impact, removing the equivalent of over 610,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year. According to the US EPA's Landfill Methane Outreach Program (LMOP), these emissions reduction are equivalent to planting in excess of 1.1 million acres of trees and offset the need for almost 21,000 rail cars of coal.

"Ameresco was honored to receive this prestigious award from the EPA's Landfill Methane Outreach Program," said Michael T. Bakas, Vice President for Renewable Energy. "We credit our success in this industry to our exceptional project partners, our internal team of renewable energy experts, and our ability to overcome project development barriers and get the job done. We are proud to work on projects that have such a positive impact on communities and the environment."

At the 11th Annual Landfill Methane Outreach Program Conference & Project Expo in Washington, D.C., EPA gave recognition awards to seven government and private organizations that are helping the agency deliver energy and environmental benefits through its LMOP.

Methane, a primary component of landfill gas, is a greenhouse gas over 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Nationwide, there are approximately 435 projects that harness landfill gas to produce renewable energy, including 29 in New England. In 2007 alone, these projects provided over 10.5 billion kilowatt hours of electricity and delivered 79 billion cubic feet per year of landfill gas to corporate and government users, and produced energy equivalent to powering roughly 810,000 homes and heating nearly 547,000 homes each year.

For 2007, EPA's LMOP is pleased to recognize projects that took innovative approaches to utilize landfill gas while delivering environmental and economic benefits. This year's award winners demonstrate creativity, persistence, and leadership in developing landfill gas energy projects that benefit the local and global community.

EPA's Landfill Methane Outreach Program is a voluntary assistance and partnership program that reduces greenhouse gas emissions by supporting landfill gas energy project development. The program also assists countries throughout the world in developing landfill methane reduction projects through the international Methane to Markets Partnership. Since 1994, LMOP has assisted in developing more than 330 landfill gas projects in the United States, reducing methane emissions by over 24 million metric tons of carbon equivalent.

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