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County Gives the OK for Renewable Energy Plant at Irvine Area Landfill

A proposed state-of-the-art renewable energy plant to convert landfill gas to electricity has received the green light from the Orange County Board of Supervisors.   

The Board, in a unanimous vote at its regular meeting on Oct. 21, gave the go-ahead for OC Waste & Recycling, the Department that manages the County’s three landfills, to revise and update a previous agreement with a private contractor to build a gas-to-energy facility at the county’s Frank R. Bowerman Landfill located in the foothills northeast of Irvine.

Under the agreement, Bowerman Power, a subsidiary of Pennsylvania-based Montauk Energy, will build a processing and power plant that captures landfill gas and converts it to energy.  The gas, a natural byproduct of solid waste decomposition, contains significant amounts of methane, which is a prevalent greenhouse gas.  Montauk Energy is a leading U.S. producer of renewable green energy from processed landfill methane.

“This is an environmentally friendly way to efficiently use natural resources to produce electricity for local communities," said Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer, who represents the 3rd District where the landfill is located. "It makes sense in so many ways. This will be a modern, state-of-the-art facility using the latest proven technologies."

The plant, which is expected to be completed and operational by early 2016, will at its peak output produce an estimated 155,000 megawatt hours of electricity per year, which is sufficient to serve about 14,000 homes. The electricity will be sold to Anaheim Public Utilities. The facility is expected to generate approximately $1.5 million in royalties for the county each year.

Since 2011, when the Board of Supervisors approved an update to the general agreement with Bowerman Power, OC Waste & Recycling has been working with the firm to develop the contract and operational details, including all local, state and federal regulatory requirements.

OC Waste & Recycling hosts three other successful landfill gas-to-energy projects. Two are at active landfills and one is located at the Coyote Canyon closed landfill.