Construction Underway for Recovery Act-Funded Landfill Gas-to-Energy Projects in CA and RI

February 3, 2011

Two major landfill gas (LFG) to electricity combined cycle projects that were awarded American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) funding by the U.S. Department of Energy's Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) are now entering the construction phase of development. Each of these projects will create new jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide low-cost power for residents of their local communities. These efforts demonstrate how investments in industrial energy efficiency can produce gains that boost our country’s economic competitiveness while keeping us on the path toward a clean energy future.

Construction on both projects began in December 2010 with commercial operations scheduled to begin in late 2012. An overview of the two projects is provided below.

Olinda Alpha Landfill – Orange County, California

In November 2009, ITP awarded Brea Power II, LLC $10 million in Recovery Act funds to optimize electricity production from the collection and use of waste LFG generated at the Olinda Landfill in Orange County, California. The facility owner is supplementing this amount with more than $101 million of its own to support the construction of a combined cycle electric generating facility and a state-of-the-art gas cleanup and compression facility, collectively capable of producing 32.5 megawatts of electricity—enough clean energy to power roughly 20,000 homes.

The new facility will use state-of-the-art technology to optimize the capture and conveyance of methane—a powerful greenhouse gas—to a central processing point where it is fed into an assembly of generators used in electricity production. When combined, the facility's assembly of combustion turbine and heat recovery steam generators will provide approximately 0.90 trillion British thermal units (TBtu) of annual energy savings from the LFG, which would otherwise be wasted.

The Olinda Alpha Landfill facility will be the third largest LFG power plant in the United States. The electricity produced by the facility will be delivered to the regional grid and bought by City of Anaheim Public Utilities for local use. The project will also provide a boost to local employment. It is estimated that the project will be directly responsible for the creation of 155 full-time employee construction and manufacturing jobs, in addition to another 25 permanent jobs associated with the operation and maintenance of the plant and equipment. Moreover, plans to manufacture all major equipment components for the project in the United States—including the manufacture of four combustion turbine generators in San Diego, California—contribute to further estimates that the project will create an additional 420 indirect jobs that will support work at the facility.

Central Landfill - Johnston, Rhode Island

In November 2009, ITP awarded Rhode Island LFG Genco, LLC $15 million in Recovery Act funds to support the installation, integration, commissioning, testing, and operation of a combined cycle power plant at the Central Landfill in Johnston, Rhode Island. The facility owner is supplementing this amount with approximately $102 million of its own to support the construction of the new 33.4 megawatt facility—a clean energy capacity sufficient to power roughly 20,000 average homes.

This facility will use four LFG-fired combustion turbine generators mated to dedicated, single pressure heat recovery steam generators. The exhaust from the turbine generators will serve as the heat source to drive the steam generators. When combined, this assembly of engines will provide approximately 0.90 TBtu of annual energy savings from the LFG, which would otherwise be wasted.

The Johnston, Rhode Island, facility will be the second largest LFG power plant in the United States and the largest renewable generator in Rhode Island. The electricity produced by the facility will be delivered to the regional grid, and sold to National Grid, with most of the output used to serve the needs of the local communities. The project will also provide a boost to local employment. It is estimated that the project will be directly responsible for the creation of 160 full-time employee construction and manufacturing jobs, in addition to another 25 permanent jobs associated with the operation and maintenance of the plant and equipment. Moreover, all major equipment components for the project will be manufactured in the United States, underscoring further estimates that show the project could create more than 530 additional indirect jobs for personnel to support work at the facility.