We never considered the production of methane gas to be “exciting”–unless it was produced in a fraternity house or Army barracks by a drunk with a lit match who raised his leg and said, “watch this!”
In a press release detailing the highlights of the 2nd Annual “State of The County” breakfast fund raiser, Commish Rick Yzaguirre revealed what the county called an “exciting public/private partnership” (P3) with G2 Energy LLC: capturing methane gas at the County Dump to power generators they claim will produce $324,000 worth of electricity a year for the county coffers.
Decaying garbage creates the gas at the landfill, just as it does in your tummy. This is known in some circles as Fresh Air Recycle Technology–FART.
We put the power generating scenario to a GUARDIAN expert who concluded the idea is good, has some nice greenie aspects, but appears to be far short of what the commish claims it will produce. Here is our guy’s serious take using the county and Idaho Power’s numbers:
“Idaho power will pay 1.719cents per kWh for cogeneration power. Annual gross revenue of a 3.2 Mw plant is $481,870. In this scenario $324,000 amounts to 67% of the TOTAL revenue! The next numbers that should be looked at are the gas generation estimates and the efficiency of the capture and use system. Estimates appear overly optimistic and ADA county probably will not get this kind of return. However it will reduce passed gas (methane) emissions if done right.”
Our expert found some additional information to add to the funding formula, Here is part the actual agreement details between G2 and Idaho Power:
During times of peak demand – July, August, November and December – Idaho Power will pay about 6.2 cents per kWh and during low demand months about 3.8 cents. At full capacity the facility would produce $1,286,400 per annum. The $324,000 represents about 25% percentage of revenue.
Even Public Utilities staffers expressed doubts about the longevity and capacity of the plant and equipment in the document approved by the PUC.
Per Idaho Power, the average residential customer uses 1,200 kWh per month (720 hours per 30 day month). The 3,200 kWh of power generated would supply 1,920 average homes (only 80% of the G2 estimate of 2,400 homes.)
If the citizen’s garbage will generate $324,000 worth of gas, just think what a county commish or city council meeting would be worth!
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