Detroit Edison to grow its renewable portfolio

By Anna Austin | January 27, 2011

Power utility Detroit Edison Co., whose parent company is DTE Energy Co., is the winning bidder to purchase electricity from a landfill gas-to-electricity project at Smiths Creek Landfill in St. Clair County, Mich.

On Jan. 20, the Michigan Public Service Commission officially approved a power purchase agreement between Detroit Edison and Blue Water Renewables, an affiliate of the company, for 3.2 megawatts of electricity and renewable energy credits generated from the landfill, which is owned and operated by the county.

The project is believed to be the first commercial-scale septage injection landfill gas source in the U.S., meaning it will use material extracted from septic tanks to speed up the decomposition of organic waste. This will promote faster landfill gas production and also extend the life of the landfill, which opened in 1967 and is scheduled to close in 2045, according to the county. It currently receives an average of 2,500 cubic yards of waste per day.

DTE Biomass Energy, a subsidiary of DTE Energy, will construct the landfill gas facility, creating about 75 jobs, according to Detroit Edison. The project, which will produce enough electricity to power about 3,000 homes, is expected to be operational late this year.

DTE Biomass Energy has constructed and operates more than 25 facilities across the U.S. that convert landfill gas into energy electricity and steam.