Ground broken on landfill gas-fired power plant in California

Local officials in Orange County, Calif., have broken ground on a new landfill gas-fired power plant being developed by Montauk Energy.

Orange County Board Chairman and 3rd District Supervisor Todd Spitzer joined Jan. 22 with area government and business officials to present details on the environmental and economic benefits to be gained from a renewable “green” energy plant at a county landfill. The planned landfill gas-to-electricity plant will be located at the Frank R. Bowerman landfill east of Irvine.

“This project makes sense for the OC in so many important ways,” said Spitzer. “It represents a win-win for the environment and the economy — and shows that the County of Orange is following smart and resourceful policies regarding its public landfills.”

Spitzer made his remarks during the formal groundbreaking ceremony for the $60m plant, a state-of-the-art facility to be built on the 725-acre landfill that is one of the largest on the West Coast. The project is to be financed by Caterpillar Financial Services and is to be built and operated by Bowerman Power, a subsidiary of Pennsylvania-based Montauk Energy. 

At the event, Spitzer, Bowerman/Montauk executives and other officials listed the many benefits to be gained by the plant, which will be completed and operational by early 2016: The project will capture landfill gas, which will be converted to an estimated 160,000 megawatt-hours of electricity. The electricity will be sold under a 20-year contract to Anaheim Public Utility. The plant’s Caterpillar reciprocating engines will feature gas clean-up and emissions reduction technologies that will meet all local-state-federal air quality requirements.

The Bowerman plant will be the county’s fourth gas-to-energy facility. The other three are at the Olinda and Prima Deshecha active landfills near Brea and San Juan Capistrano, respectively, and the Coyote Canyon closed landfill in Newport Beach.

Dave Herrman, Montauk Energy’s chief executive officer, said the corporation, as an experienced developer of landfill gas-to-energy projects, will be moving quickly to complete the construction of the 113,000-square-foot facility.

Montauk Energy develops, owns and operates large-scale, renewable energy projects utilizing landfill methane. The company has over 20 years of experience in permitting, design, construction and operation of energy facilities and extensive specialty experience in the development, ownership and operation of landfill methane recovery and processing projects. Montauk Energy’s expertise and experience includes pipeline quality gas production, electric power generation, renewable energy credits, landfill gas collection system operations.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.