Great to see Indiana is taking some steps by building the 2nd largest landfill gas to energy project in the country. Found on Detroit News.
Melissa Burden / The Detroit News
Bloomington, Ind.-based Hoosier Energy REC Inc. plans to invest $25 million to $30 million in a renewable energy plant in Van Buren Township that will generate electricity for the grid, heat for the Grace Lake Corporate Center and create jobs.
In a 4-3 vote Tuesday, the Van Buren Township board approved a special land use permit for an acre of the Grace Lake Corporate Center near Ecorse Road and Interstate 275 for Hoosier’s landfill gas-to-energy project. Hoosier says the project will become the second-largest landfill gas co-generation facility in the nation.
Hoosier Energy via an underground pipeline will use processed landfill gas — odorless methane produced from decomposing garbage that typically is burned off and released into the atmosphere — from Waste Management’s nearby Woodland Meadows Landfill to generate 10.8 megawatts of electricity, said Chris Tryba, Hoosier Energy’s communications manager. That’s enough to power about 6,400 homes, he said.
The electric generation process “also creates heat, which we’re capturing from hot water, which we’ll feed over to the existing Visteon facility,” said Caleb Steiner, a renewable energy specialist at Hoosier Energy.
Visteon Corp. plans to lease land to Hoosier Energy for 20 years in exchange for the hot water, said Jim Fisher, a spokesman for auto supplier Visteon, which is headquartered at Grace Lake. Other tenants include General Electric Co. and Dana Holdings Corp.
Visteon and other tenants will use the hot water in boilers to generate heat, Fisher said. The move is expected to cut Visteon’s natural gas costs 60 percent, he said. Steiner said Visteon will save about $350,000 annually.
“There’s an environmental benefit and then there’s a financial benefit to Visteon with a project that is compatible with the surrounding area,” Fisher said.
Ameresco, a Massachusetts-based company that provides energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions, will design and build an about 6,500-square-foot generation plant on the west side of the Grace Lake campus, away from current buildings and near I-275, Fisher and Steiner said.
“Once it’s designed, built and up, we take over and run it to produce electricity,” Steiner said.
Construction on the project, which could create up to 320 temporary construction jobs, should begin by late April, with hopes the plant will be running by December, Steiner said. About 25 operational and maintenance jobs also will be created, said Chris Tryba, Hoosier Energy’s communications manager.
Supervisor Paul White, who voted in favor of the project, said the decision wasn’t easy. The township stands to gain about $380,000 in new tax revenue from the project, according to Hoosier.
“There was just a lot of concerns, and residents brought forth many legitimate issues which had to be resolved,” White said, ranging from noise, emissions and the aesthetics of the building.
Hoosier Energy, a power supplier for electric cooperatives in southern Indiana and southeastern Illinois, is involved in other landfill gas-to-energy projects, including one in Indiana.
“We look for those renewable energy projects that are more cost competitive, and we found from our experience with our existing landfill facilities that they are highly reliable and provide cost competitive power for consumers,” Tryba said.
There are more than 540 landfill gas-to-energy plants nationally, but just 27 are cogeneration facilities, including one project at a landfill in Genesee County, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Since 2008, the Michigan Public Service Commission has approved six power purchasing contracts involving landfill gas projects that provide renewable energy.