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Landfill Methane Outreach Program

Project Profile

Southeastern Chester County Refuse Authority (SECCRA) Landfill Gas Energy Project

LMOP Award Winner  Self Developed (Absence of third party developer)
Location:
Chester County, Pennsylvania
End User(s):
PJM Interconnection, LLC
Sector(s):
Utility
Landfill(s):
SECCRA Landfill
Landfill Size:
1.8 million tons waste-in-place (2008)
Project Type:
Reciprocating Engine (one Caterpillar 3516 870-kW engine and one GE-Jenbacher 20-cylinder engine)
Project Size:
1.9 megawatts (MW)
Environmental Benefits:
Carbon sequestered annually by 17,200 acres of pine or fir forests, annual greenhouse gas emissions from 15,500 passenger vehicles, or carbon dioxide emissions from 188,000 barrels of oil consumed. Annual energy savings equate to powering 1,100 homes. Estimated emissions reductions of 0.0220 million metric tons of carbon equivalents.
LMOP Partners Involved:
American Environmental Group, Blazosky Associates, Inc., Caterpillar, Concord Engineering Group, DCO Energy, GE Energy - Jenbacher Gas Engines, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Roman Consulting, SECCRA
Last Updated:
7/20/2010

Photo of control panel.

Five years of planning by a determined staff led to a successful self-developed landfill gas (LFG) energy project. Armed with the capital to finance their own project, SECCRA Power forged ahead and developed this LFG energy project without the assistance of a third-party developer. SECCRA and the community reaped economic benefits that exceeded expectations. The staff's determination and the project's success earned the project recognition as a 2007 LMOP Project of the Year.

After evaluating direct use, pipeline, and electricity generation, planners chose electricity generation. To realize the best rate for electricity sales, SECCRA Power became a member of PJM Interconnection, a regional transmission organization (RTO) that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity. Ultimately, the project included installation of a gas collection system in the landfill, a generator that runs on LFG, a power line connection to the grid, and an electronic monitoring system.

The project's highlights include the following financial benefits:

  • Gross income is expected to be $500,000 in 2007.
  • Initial investment of $3.2 million is expected to be paid off in eight years.
  • Planned expansion is expected to gross an additional $500,000 per year, reducing payoff to four years.
  • Sale of renewable energy credits generated $83,000.
  • Sales in real-time wholesale market averaged $35,000 per month.
  • Designation as a 'capacity unit' is expected to generate $7,000 per month.
  • Added an additional engine in 2008, increasing total capacity to 1.9 MW.

SECCRA hired a public relations firm to plan and publicize the grand opening and the production of locally generated green power. Radio and numerous print outlets ran the success story. SECCRA even filmed a commercial that will be used as part of a future cable television campaign. Response to the stories was so good that SECCRA received several requests from nearby residents to purchase green energy directly from the landfill.

The electricity we're producing is considered green energy because we're using a renewable resource. As long as the landfill is in operation—and for about 15 years afterward—there will be enough landfill gas to make a significant amount of electricity. —Richard Cairns, Chairman, SECCRA Board of Directors

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