Three neighboring landfills located in Erie now provide a renewable power source that will energize more than 3,300 homes on United Power’s lines per year. The Town of Erie officially opened the Landfill Gas to Energy Project on November 17th. The project will capture methane, the byproduct of the landfill’s fifteen million tons of decomposing waste, to produce an estimated 3.2 megawatts of capacity.
Landfill gas generating systems are unique because they provide a renewable, baseload energy source. Unlike wind or solar renewable energy sources that are intermittent and only generate energy when the wind blows or when the sun shines, methane can be captured consistently 24 hours per day, providing a reliable energy source. The Erie landfill gas to energy site is estimated to produce renewable electricity for Erie residents served by United Power for at least 30 years.
United Power has signed an agreement to purchase all of the output from the Erie Landfill for ten years. United Power is a distribution cooperative, meaning the cooperative is not in the business to generate electricity, but the power agreement the co-op has with wholesale power provider, Tri-State Generation and Transmission allows United Power to purchase a small portion of its energy needs from small, local generating sources.
The Erie landfill site is only the second site of its kind in Colorado—the first is located at the Denver Arapahoe landfill in Aurora. Landfill Energy Systems, the developer for the Erie site, operates 38 facilities in 16 states. It is estimated that the Erie Landfill Gas to Energy Project will prevent the equivalent of about 30,000-metric tons of carbon dioxide from reaching the atmosphere each year. That is equivalent to removing approximately 5,280 cars from the road.