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Watauga County Landfill Gas To Energy Project Recognized as One of Top 2012 Projects by the EPA

By Jesse Wood

Feb. 1, 2013. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized the Watauga County Landfill Gas to Energy Project as one of the top landfill gas energy projects in 2012.

Last Friday, Ralph Seamon (left) and BrianCrutchfield of Blue Ridge Electric MembershipCorporation, Stan Steury with ASU Energy Center,Watauga County Commissioner Nathan Miller andWatauga County Recycling Coordinator Lisa Dotyparticipate in the ribbon cutting of the new systemat the Watauga County dump that will convertmethane into $700,000 worth of electricity in 10years. Photo by Jesse Wood
Last year, Ralph Seamon (left) and Brian Crutchfield of Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation, Stan Steury with ASU Energy Center, Watauga County Commissioner Nathan Miller and Watauga County Recycling Coordinator Lisa Doty participate in the ribbon cutting of the new system at the Watauga County dump that will convert methane into $700,000 worth of electricity in 10 years. Photo by Jesse Wood

A press release from the EPA stated that the local landfill along with six other landfill projects across the country were selected “for generating renewable energy from a local source while protecting the climate, providing energy savings and strengthening the economy.”

Along with the other landfills, which are located in Maryland, Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, California and Louisiana, these projects are projected to avoid the emissions of 269,770 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.

That amount is the equivalent of the annual greenhouse gas emissions from nearly 52,900 passenger vehicles or the carbon dioxide emissions from more than 627,000 consumed barrels of oil. All the projects are capable of generating 50 megawatts of electricity.

Once a financial and environmental liability, as well as a safety hazard, Watauga County’s closed landfill will become an asset because of the Landfill Gas to Energy Project, which will convert the methane gas created by landfill waste to more than $700,000 worth of energy in 10 years.

Not only will the old landfill turn an annual profit of $72,000 but it will also reduce the landfill’s electricity bill by 80 percent.

“By self-developing the project — with assistance from local businesses and the Appalachian State University (ASU) Energy Center — and creatively using modified automotive engines, the county was able to keep costs low enough to make the project financially viable,” according to a release from the EPA.

This pilot project is located at the old Watauga County landfill, which has been closed for 18 years, and is one of the first projects of its kind in the country. Now other counties in North Carolina are following suit.

For more info on the local project, click here: http://highcountrypress.com/weekly/2011/12-22-11/from-liability-to-potential-asset.htm.

About the EPA’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program

EPA’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program is a voluntary assistance and partnership program that reduces GHG emissions by supporting landfill gas energy project development.

The program has assisted with more than 560 landfill gas energy projects over the past 18 years, transforming waste into a green community asset. The U.S. currently has about 600 operational landfill gas energy projects. 

For more information, click to http://www.epa.gov/lmop.