First U.S. Commercial Scale Methane Gas-to-Electricity Production Approved in St. Clair County.

27 Jan 2011

Methane gas is captured at a landfill. Photo credit: meaduva@Flickr

Last week the Michigan Public Service Commission approved a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) between DTE and Blue Water Renewables (a DTE affiliate).  The PPA is for 3.2 megawatts of electricity per hour (enough to power between 2,000 and 3,000 homes) from a unique project in St. Clair County believed to be the first commercial scale landfill gas-to-energy production in the country.  Basically, once the systems are installed (set for the end of 2011), St. Clair County will be able to sell the methane gas from the landfill to Blue Water Renewables.  Blue Water will convert the gas into electricity and then sell the power to DTE.

According to DTE, the utility has invested only in wind energy initiatives thus far — which account for 4% of the company’s requirement of having 10% of its energy come from renewable sources by 2015.  The  St. Clair County gas-to-energy production will count towards DTE’s 10% requirement.

The landfill’s ability to produce and sell methane gas to energy companies on a commercial scale is a breakthrough and will likely provide a much needed additional revenue stream for St. Clair County (though how much is unclear).

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