Landfill's Methane Gas to Power Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson
City to profit from methane sales to base
ANCHORAGE - In just a few weeks the city of Anchorage will have a new way to make power when it starts producing energy from decomposing garbage at the Anchorage Landfill. It’s a project the city has been working on for years and production day and its expected profits could be right around the corner.
“We expect to make almost a million dollars in the first year of operation and it will grow depending on how much gas we can sell,” says Solid Waste Service’s Mark Madden.
Right now the city makes no money with the millions of cubic feet of methane gas produced every day by rotting garbage. Instead, the gas is burned off in a stack, sending potential profits literally up in smoke. But in a matter of days the gas will be funneled to a just completed power plant that will turn it into electricity.
When fully operational the state of the art plant can produce 5.6 mega watts of electricity on a daily basis. That’s enough to light up thousands of homes. Or provide more than half the power needs for the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson military base, which is buying all the electricity it can get from the landfill’s methane gas. The result is cheaper energy for the military, as well as more than satisfying a requirement to go green.
“Renewable sources of energy are a big push within the Department of Defense,” says JBER’S Col. Brian Duffy. “We are going to meet our goal or exceed our goal by about 700 percent as a result of bringing this plant on line.”
But while the military is expected to save millions over the life of the contract the city is benefiting too, earning millions in revenue by selling its gas while enjoying a renewable resource that isn’t likely to run out any time soon.