Ox Mountain Landfill gas-to-energy (LFG) plant

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August 2009 BULLETIN Western’s monthly energy efficiency and renewable energy newsletter dedicated to customer activities and sharing information on energy services. Alameda, Palo Alto add more landfill power to portfolios The Ox Mountain Landfill gas-to-energy (LFG) plant roared to life July 1, converting methane from decomposing garbage into 12 megawatts (MW) of base-load electricity for two of California’s greenest municipal utilities, the cities of Alameda and Palo Alto. Owned and operated by the energy services company Ameresco, Inc., the project will generate enough electric- ity to power nearly 12,000 homes. Alameda and Palo Alto evenly split the project’s output with Alameda’s half representing about 11 percent of its load and Palo Alto’s half being about 4 percent of the city’s electric needs. Perhaps more beneficial to the environment than the green energy the facility produces is the diversion of methane, nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. “By burning methane, which is one of the most potent greenhouse gases, this project has the added benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the landfill.” said Mayor Peter Drekmeier of Palo Alto, who was a speaker at the commission- ing ceremony. Palo Alto city officials at the opening of the Ox Mountain Landfill power project. Back row (l. to r.): Utilities Advisory Commission Chair Dexter Dawes; Sr. Resource Planner Shiva Swaminathan; Mayor Peter Drekmeier; Sr. Assist. City Attorney Grant Kolling; Utilities Dir. Valerie Fong; Utilities Advisory Commission Vice Chair John Melton; Sr. Resource Originator Tom Kabat; former Sr. Resource Planner Karl Knapp, Palo Alto’s project lead. Front row (l. to r.): Utilities Resource Management Assist. Dir. Jane Ratchye; Public Communications Mgr. Linda Clerkson. Previously, landfill owner Republic Services, Inc. flared off the methane, which has been gathering as long these unique benefits, we were eager to commit to the development of the Ox Mountain resource.” Alameda has been taking power from Ameresco’s Richmond, Calif., LFG plant since 2005 and from the Buena Vista Disposal Site project in Santa Cruz that came online in 2006. These will be joined later this year by a facility at Republic Services’ Keller Canyon Landfill, making LFG 22 percent of Alameda’s energy mix. Almost 80 percent of that mix comes from renewable resources, in- cluding geothermal and hydropower, earning Alameda the nickname, “Greenest Little Utility in America.” Since renewable energy constitutes the bulk of Alameda’s generation, the utility does not offer its customers See LANDFILL POWER page 2 as Ox Mountain has collected trash—about 33 years. The company estimates there is enough methane stored in underground pockets to far outlast the landfill’s expected lifespan of 25 more years. Environmental vision When Ameresco and Republic announced the Ox Mountain Landfill gas conversion project in 2004, the partners did not have to look hard to find buyers for power. “Our previous partnerships with Palo Alto and Ameresco had already established the viability and benefits of LFG for the community,” said Alameda Municipal Power General Manager Girish Balachandran. “Because of What’s inside Energy audit programs.................3 Transmission modeling tool ......... 5 Technology spotlight .................... 6 Web site of the month .................. 7 Access this publication at http://www.wapa.gov/es/pubs/esb/default.htm to take advantage of online resources and helpful links.

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