Among the first renewable energy resources adopted by American Municipal Power, Inc. (AMP) and its member communities was the use of landfill sites in Ohio to provide a steady source of base-load generation.
AMP began contracting with Energy Developments, Inc. (EDI) in 2001 to receive electricity generated by landfill gas-to-energy sites. That contract supplied 27 megawatts (MW). In late 2011, AMP signed a new 10-year agreement with EDI for the purchase of 53.8 MW of methane-gas-generated power from EDI’s existing projects in northern Ohio and their expansion. The facilities are located at the the Carbon Limestone Landfill (Lowellville, OH), the Lorain County Landfill (Oberlin, OH) and Ottawa County Landfill (Port Clinton, OH) . Since 2011, AMP has also added agreements with Waste Management for 7.6 MW of methane-gas-generated power at their Geneva Landfill (Geneva, OH) and Mahoning Landfill (New Springfield, OH) and Ohio Renewable Energy Services (ORES) for 1.5 MW of methane-gas-generated power from the Erie County Landfill (Milan, OH). Forty-nine AMP member communities receive landfill gas power through AMP.
These sites are fueled by landfill gas, produced by decomposing garbage and collected by a series of pipes throughout the landfill for use as a fuel in either a gas engine or gas turbine generators. Landfill gas is a mixture of gases, with the largest component being methane. Solid waste landfills are the second largest human-generated source of methane emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA says these sites also indirectly reduce air pollution by offsetting the use of non-renewable resources, such as oil and natural gas. The agency further notes that the overall environmental improvement from landfill gas electricity generation projects is significant because of the large methane reductions, hazardous air pollutant reductions, and avoidance of the use of limited non-renewable resources that are more polluting than landfill gas.