Wisconsin Utility Taps Landfill Gas

Eau Claire Energy Cooperative has solidified a partnership between its wholesale power supplier and an area landfill to produce renewable energy to enhance the region’s power supply. Dairyland Power Cooperative has contracted with ONYX Waste Services, Inc., to purchase methane gas collected at the Seven Mile Creek Landfill in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The methane gas, a natural byproduct of the landfill, will be used by Dairyland to generate renewable energy for the residential and business consumers in the cooperative system.

Eau Claire, Wisconsin – June 13 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The renewable resource will initially provide the fuel to generate 3 MW of electricity, powering approximately 2,600 homes, with potential expansion to 5 MW. The gas collection system is already in place and the landfill is expected to begin producing power in fall 2003. Some of the additional environmental benefits for each year the project is operational will equate to eliminating the carbon dioxide emissions from 22,000 cars, planting 30,000 acres of forest or the conservation of 240,000 barrels of oil. Dairyland Power will own the generating equipment and will purchase the gas from ONYX, which owns the landfill and is a member of Eau Claire Energy Cooperative. The Seven Mile Creek Landfill is a regional collector of residential waste. Currently, the energy from the methane gas is wasted, as it must be burned off into the atmosphere. Local air quality will benefit, as the methane gas will be harnessed as a green energy source instead of just being burned with no benefit. Incorporating the landfill gas-to-energy program into Dairyland’s power supply helps to expand the cooperative’s use of renewable forms of electricity and conserve the use of traditional fuel sources. In addition, landfill gas is a reliable energy resource, enabling the power generators to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Dairyland Power currently supplies renewable energy to its member distribution cooperatives from its Flambeau Hydro Station and from its participation in a wind farm in southwestern Minnesota. The company is considering additional renewable energy facilities at landfills in Wisconsin and Iowa, methane digesters at agricultural facilities throughout its service territory and by participation in additional wind farm projects.
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