It is said that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Soon, one mid-Missouri’s trash will produce another city’s energy.
It might be only 2% of the city of Columbia’s energy, but nonetheless methane gas from the Jefferson City landfill will soon be piped to Columbia where Mayor Darwin Hindman presides over the only city whose residents require a portion of the electricity produced by the city utility be from renewable sources.
“Leadership doesn’t come with a road map to show you where you are going,” said Hindman during a ceremony at the Jefferson City Correctional Center. “So, we really didn’t know what to expect after we had done this as a community.”
Columbia has contracted with Ameresco to pipe methane gas from the Jefferson City landfill three miles to the engine facility at the state prison. The gas will generate 3.2 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 2,000 Columbia Water and Light customers. Ameresco will also capture the waste heat generated from the engines to provide steam and hot water for the Jefferson City Correctional Center and the neighboring Algoa Prison. Ameresco will also help the state run the prisons more efficiently to cut energy use.
Ameresco CEO George Sakellaris says his company has been at the right place at the right time.
“Because energy efficiency and renewables are the two most critical aspects or issues that we have in this country, especially as we address global warming and, more importantly, national security,” stated Sakellaris.
Republic Services subsidiary, Allied Waste, runs the Jefferson City Landfill, which covers 319 acres. This will be Republic’s second methane gas-to-energy project in Missouri.