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Green Methane Eyed by WA Public-Private Partners

Bellevue, WA-based Puget Sound Energy (PSE), Kings County, WA, and landfill gas specialist Bio Energy-Washington have joined forces on a project to use super-clean landfill gas to produce 35 MW in PSE's existing gas-fired generation plants. They expect to produce up to 5.5 MMcf/d of "green" methane from the landfill.

Supplies are expected to begin flowing to PSE by the end of April, and PSE will pay Bio Energy "a competitive price commensurate with regional wholesale prices." This is the third waste-to-energy project that PSE has with local government-operated facilities in its service area in western Washington state.

The project involves methane gas generated from decomposing garbage in the Kings County Cedar Hills Regional Landfill, about 20 miles southeast of Seattle. The gas is cleaned by Bio Energy-Washington.

PSE said that since the converted methane from the landfill replaces increments of nonrenewable natural gas, the landfill gas project will result in an overall reduction of emissions, including greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. "This project translates into an estimated 63% reduction in the carbon footprint of the landfill," a PSE spokesperson said.

A pipeline will be built to connect the landfill facilities with Northwest Pipeline, the area's major interstate pipeline. Northwest will transport the methane from the landfill project to PSE's gas-fired power plants. The utility said it expects to generate about 287,000 MW annually. Bio Energy-Washington, a unit of Richmond, VA-based INGENCO, is building and operating the landfill gas-to-energy facility, including the pipeline.

During the 20-year life of the project, Bio Energy said it will average about 5.5 MMcf/d of methane for the PSE power plants. The deal calls for at least 4.5 MMcf/d from the county landfill.

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