Siliconcowboy's Blog

Ameresco to Convert Livermore Landfill Gas into Power for City of Santa Clara

Project will support tech-heavy energy needs of Santa Clara residents and businesses

The Republic Services Vasco Road Landfill will be home to a new 4.3 megawatt landfill gas-to-electricity (LFGTE) plant that will be designed, built, owned and operated by Ameresco, Inc., an independent energy efficiency and renewable energy company.

As part of this $13 million project, Ameresco plans to capture the landfill gas generated at the Vasco Road Landfill in Livermore, California and use it as fuel to generate power for homes and businesses in the Santa Clara and San Francisco Bay Area. The project is scheduled to commence operations in late 2012.

“The Vasco Road project is Republic’s seventh landfill-gas-to-energy venture in California, representing nearly 41 MW of electricity,” said Brian Bales, executive vice president business development for Republic.

Mike Bakas, senior vice president of renewable energy at Ameresco, said the project will support the state’s goal of 33 percent renewable generation by the year 2020.

Republic Services and Ameresco partnered to develop this project that uses landfill gas from the 323-acre Republic Services landfill, which is one of the main recipients of refuse from residents and businesses in the North Livermore rural area.

Landfill gas, which is created when organic material naturally decomposes in a landfill, consists of about 50 percent methane. A reliable and readily available local alternative to fossil fuels, landfill gas can be converted to generate electricity, heat or steam, or used as an alternative vehicle fuel. A list of some other landfill-to-gas plants can be found here.

Ameresco has entered into a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Silicon Valley Power, the City of Santa Clara’s electric utility, for the power from the project. As part of California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), the state required retail sellers of electricity to serve 20 percent of their load with renewable energy by 2010. Now, all utilities must serve 33 percent of their load with renewable energy by 2020.

Jan Pepper, Electric Division Manager for Silicon Valley Power, said the project is expected to provide base load generation at a competitive price, and enables the municipality to continue to exceed the state’s RPS requirements for its customers using a reliable, renewable source of power.”

Silicon Valley Power is  the not-for-profit electric municipal utility of Santa Clara, CA serving residents and businesses for over 100 years. SVP provides power to more than 50,000 customers, including Applied Materials, Intel, National Semiconductor and Yahoo!, at rates 25 to 45 percent below neighboring communities. SVP also offers customers a 100 percent renewable energy option through its Santa Clara Green Power program and is an active participant in the wholesale energy markets in the Western United States.