WM, MCE bring 3.9 MW landfill gas-to-energy project online

By Waste Management | September 21, 2017

MCE and Waste Management’s Redwood Landfill celebrated the opening of a new landfill gas-to-energy plant in California that will generate enough renewable electricity to provide service to more than 5,000 MCE customers in Marin and Napa Counties, and the cities of Benicia, El Cerrito, Lafayette, Richmond, San Pablo, and Walnut Creek.

The facility provides an environmentally friendly, sustainable solution to power generation that can produce electricity consistently. Unlike other forms of renewable energy, a landfill gas-to-energy power plant can produce power at night and through any weather conditions.

“We’re proud to be working with Waste Management to offer our customers renewable energy that’s generated locally,” said Dawn Weisz, CEO of MCE. “This type of innovation and ingenuity complements our intermittent renewable energy sources, like solar and wind, to put more pollution-free power on the grid around the clock. Renewable technologies such as this landfill gas-to-energy plant help us achieve our mission to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while providing local economic and workforce benefits.”

The new, state-of-the-art plant closes the loop on waste by turning landfill gas, which was previously flared, into electricity. Methane gas produced by Marin’s trash at the Redwood Landfill powers two reciprocating engines that generate 3.9 MW of electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The plant is outfitted with a state-of-the art emissions system, with sophisticated scrubbers and exhaust mechanisms that ensure it has one of the lowest emissions of any landfill gas-to-energy plant in the nation. It also reflects Redwood Landfill and Waste Management’s commitment to sustainable practices.

“At $14.5 million, the plant demonstrates Waste Management’s investment not only in Marin County, it also underscores our dedication to finding environmentally sustainable solutions to our operations,” said Paul Pabor, WM vice president of renewable energy. “Waste Management estimates that this renewable energy power plant will eliminate 8,900 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. It’s meaningful to contribute to MCE’s renewable energy portfolio by generating power for customers even when the sun has gone down and there’s no wind producing electricity.”

In addition to the power plant, Redwood Landfill is home to the only covered, aerated static pile composting facility in the county, producing a natural fertilizer that is used for organic farming. The landfill recycles almost half of all materials brought to the facility, and it donated 180 acres of its property to the Marin Audubon Society for wetlands restoration.

Of the 19 MW of local, renewable energy projects that MCE has online, under construction, or soon-to-be under construction, this is MCE’s third renewable energy project to come online in Novato. Other projects built in Marin County include solar locations at the San Rafael Airport, Cost Plus Plaza (Corte Madera), Cooley Quarry (Novato), and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging (Novato). Combined, these four new solar projects supported 80 construction jobs—including union labor and local subcontractors—and generate 4 MW of renewable energy to power approximately 1,000 homes.