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OC Officials Announce Environmental & Economic Benefits of New Renewable Energy Plant at County Landfill

Construction Starts on $60M Facility Near Irvine That Will Power Anaheim Homes, Create Jobs and Generate Royalties

IRVINE, Calif. (Jan. 22, 2015) -— Board Chairman and Orange County 3rd District Supervisor Todd Spitzer joined today with area government and business officials to present details on the environmental and economic benefits to be gained from a renewable “green” energy plant at a county landfill.

The planned landfill gas-to-electricity plant at the Frank R. Bowerman landfill northeast of Irvine will power local homes and businesses, create construction and operational jobs and generate millions in royalties for the county government system.

“This project makes sense for the OC in so many important ways,” said Spitzer, who represents the 3rd District where the landfill is located.  “It represents a win-win for the environment and the economy — and shows that the County of Orange is following smart and resourceful policies regarding its public landfills.”

Spitzer made his remarks during the formal groundbreaking ceremony for the $60 million plant, a state-of-the-art facility to be built on the 725-acre landfill that is one of the largest on the West Coast.  The project—to be financed by Caterpillar Financial Services and built and operated by Bowerman Power, a subsidiary of Pennsylvania-based Montauk Energy—was championed by Spitzer. It won approval from the full Board of Supervisors in October after a previous agreement for the facility was revised and updated.

At the event, Spitzer, Bowerman/Montauk executives and other officials listed the many benefits to be gained by the plant, which will be completed and operational by early 2016:

  • The plant will be a processing and power unit that captures landfill gas created by the millions of tons of waste buried at Bowerman. The gas, a natural byproduct of solid waste decomposition, contains high amounts of methane, which is a prevalent greenhouse gas.
  • The gas will be converted to an estimated 160,000 megawatt-hours of electricity, which is sufficient to serve about 18,500 homes.  The electricity will be sold to Anaheim Public Utility to power residences, schools and businesses in that city.
  • The plant’s Caterpillar reciprocating engines will feature gas clean-up and emissions reduction technologies that will meet all local-state-federal air quality requirements.  Thus, the project overall will have very minimal environmental impacts or detriments.
  • The electricity will be sold under a long-term (20 year) agreement with the City of Anaheim through its contract provider, Anaheim Public Utilities.
  • The average annual royalty payment to Orange County is projected at $1.62 million, which over the 20-year agreement will total an estimated $32 million.
  • An estimated $1 million in annual costs for plant operation and maintenance services will be paid for by Montauk.
  • 60 construction jobs will be generated along with the local purchase of various building materials and services. In addition, a total of 7 full-time employees will be hired by Bowerman for plant operations.
  • The Bowerman plant will be the county’s fourth gas-to-energy facility. The other three are at the Olinda and Prima Deshecha active landfills near Brea and San Juan Capistrano, respectively, and the Coyote Canyon closed landfill in Newport Beach.
  • Altogether, the four facilities will produce 400,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually, enough to power more than 50,000 homes, which represents a population equivalent to the City of Costa Mesa.

Dave Herrman, Montauk Energy’s chief executive officer, said the corporation, as an experienced developer of landfill gas-to-energy projects, will be moving quickly to complete the construction of the 113,000-square foot facility. The plant will feature Caterpillar reciprocating engines that have state-of-the-art gas clean-up and emissions reduction technologies that will meet all local-state-federal air quality requirements.

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About Bowerman Power/Montauk Energy
Montauk Energy develops, owns and operates large-scale, renewable energy projects utilizing landfill methane. The company has over 20 years of experience in permitting, design, construction and operation of energy facilities and extensive specialty experience in the development, ownership and operation of landfill methane recovery and processing projects. Montauk Energy's expertise and experience includes pipeline quality gas production, electric power generation, renewable energy credits, landfill gas collection system operations.

About the County of Orange and OC Waste & Recycling
The mission of the County of Orange is to make the County a safe, healthy, and fulfilling place to live, work, and play, today and for generations to come, by providing outstanding, cost effective regional public services. OC Waste & Recycling helps fulfill this mission by meeting the County’s solid waste disposal needs by providing waste management services, protecting the environment, and promoting recycling in order to ensure a safe and healthy community for current and future generations. The Department manages one of the nation’s premiere solid waste disposal systems, which serve 34 cities and more than three million residents.