By JAMES NOBLE
May 29, 2014
Saskatoon built and recently opened the city's first new power generation facility in more than a century, using biogas captured from the city’s landfill to produce enough electricity to power 1,300 homes.
The Landfill Gas to Energy Project involves capturing methane-rich landfill gas created naturally by decomposing waste and piping it to a power station. There an engine-generator combusts the gas to create electricity. The green power will then be fed to SaskPower’s electrical grid through a 20-year power purchase agreement.
The project cost $15 million. It was partially funded ($6.3 million) by the federal government through the Canada-Saskatchewan-Provincial-Territorial Base Fund; the remainder was funded from city reserves.
The revenue generated from the sale of the energy to SaskPower will be used to pay for the project. After nine years, all profits will go back to the city, to develop more green power generation projects.
According to the city, annual benefits include a 45,000-tonne greenhouse gas reduction, better air quality, less odours at the landfill, and about $1.3 million in annual revenue for the city from the sale of the power generated.
In British Columbia, two projects are supplying biomethane to FortisBC’s system—Fraser Valley Biogas in Abbotsford and the Salmon Arm Landfill—with five more projects being developed or built. When they're completed, FortisBC will have an annual supply of up to about 500,000 gigajoules, or enough energy to provide heat and hot water for about 5,000 homes.
FortisBC has offered renewable natural gas to customers since 2011. Eligible residential and business customers have the option of designating a percentage of natural gas as renewable. FortisBC then injects an equivalent amount of renewable natural gas into its distribution system. The gas is also carbon neutral, which means it is exempt from the province's carbon tax.