Anchorage plans to tap landfill methane for power

Posted: Friday, April 02, 2010

ANCHORAGE - Anchorage says the methane currently being burned off at the regional landfill could be generating enough electricity to power 2,500 homes.

The city is asking for bidders on a project that would harness the methane and generate a little money for the city, too.

Tons of rotting rubbish in the 275-acre landfill near Eagle River are expected to produce gas for at least 60 years, the Anchorage Daily News reports. The gas has been collected since 2006, as required by the federal Clean Air Act.

Solid Waste Services says an electricity generating station would cost about $7.5 million and could be online in about two years.

Department Director Mark Madden says the idea of a generating powerhouse was considered a few years ago but dropped because it was outside the scope of the landfill's mission.

"What we're hoping for is to find a good partner that is willing to work with us for as much as 20 years to produce a good project that uses the gas as a resource and makes us a little bit of revenue," Madden said.

Mayor Dan Sullivan says the plant would help manage landfill gases.

"When not properly collected, the gas, which is a significant greenhouse gas emission, can result in explosions, hazards and nuisance odors," he said.

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