Waste Management Announces Waste-based Alternative Energy Initiatives Across North America
Waste Management, today
announced a major initiative to expand its roster of landfill gas to energy
(LFGTE) facilities. The program will result in the creation of an additional
60 renewable energy facilities in North America over the next five years.
Together with its existing LFGTE facilities, Waste Management will generate
more than 700 megawatts of clean renewable energy - enough to power
700,000 homes or replace over eight million barrels of oil per year in North
Waste Management plans to bring its four landfills in Ontario and two
landfills in Quebec on line within the next five years.
"We've proven that landfill gas to energy is a viable option for Canadian
jurisdictions," said Paul Pabor, vice president of renewable energy. "We've
had tremendous success with our Sainte-Sophie landfill site in Quebec that
saved a local paper mill from being shut down in 2005 by supplying 75 per cent
of its energy needs. The site reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 540,000 tons
a year - the equivalent of removing about 120,000 cars from the roads.
"It is important for the rest of Canada to follow the lead of
Sainte-Sophie and many U.S. jurisdictions who have embraced landfill gas to
The LFGTE initiative, which will generate enough electricity to power
approximately 230,000 homes, will position the company to serve the growing
market for renewable energy. In recent years, consumer awareness of
environmental issues has quickly increased demand for new sources of renewable
energy. LFGTE projects are especially valuable to utilities because they
provide dependable base load power, in contrast to the intermittent nature of
other renewable energy sources.
A pioneer in LFGTE projects, Waste Management designed and operated its
first such facility in the United States over 20 years ago. With
281 landfills, Waste Management is North America's largest landfill operator
and is in a unique position to expand waste-based renewable power generation
in Canada. The company is also exploring partnerships to expand its landfill
gas to energy technology to other private and municipal landfills.
Landfill gas, produced when microorganisms break down organic material in
the landfill, is comprised of approximately 50 to 60 per cent methane and
40 to 50 per cent carbon dioxide. At most landfills in Canada, these
greenhouse gases are simply burned off, or "flared". However, Waste Management
sites that have LFGTE facilities collect the methane and use it to fuel onsite
engines or turbines, generating electricity to power surrounding homes and
neighborhoods while creating a new revenue stream for the landfills. By
building LFGTE facilities, Waste Management reduces greenhouse gases by
offsetting the use of fossil fuel at the utility power plants.
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