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OMPA begins commercial operation of Oklahoma’s first landfill-gas-to-energy project


From the April 29, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published April 29, 2013

By Fallon Forbush
Communications Assistant

The Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority’s landfill-gas-to-energy project in Sand Springs, Okla., was dedicated on April 17 as the first landfill-gas-to-energy project to begin commercial operation in the state, OMPA said.

"The landfill-gas-to-energy project provides our 39 member cities with another renewable resource of energy," said Charles Lamb, board chair. "OMPA was the first Oklahoma utility to have wind power, another renewable resource in September 2003. This project brings OMPA’s renewable energy resources (methane gas, wind and hydro) for 2013 to an estimated level of nearly 30 percent based on a normal water year."


From left to right: OMPA Board Chair Charles Lamb, General Manager Cindy Holman, Deputy Secretary of Energy for the state of Oklahoma Jay Albert and OMPA board member John Ramey joined representatives from Tulsa LFG, LLC and Montauk Energy for the dedication of OMPA’s landfill-gas-to-energy project in Sand Springs, Okla. Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority


The $4 million municipal solid waste landfill project is small, but has the potential to grow, the utility said.  Initially, the project will produce three megawatts, but may grow to seven-plus megawatts in the future, the utility said.

"The authority will continue to develop projects to meet the load growth needs of our members by providing them with cost-efficient and reliable electricity while exploring the advantages of renewable resources," said General Manager Cindy L. Holman. "I appreciate the cooperation we have received from Tulsa LFG, LLC and Montauk Energy in making this unique project a reality."

Traditionally, landfill gas escapes into the atmosphere and is considered a potent greenhouse gas, as landfill gas is comprised of approximately 50 percent methane. The gas, generated through the slow decomposition of waste, contributes greatly to greenhouse gas emissions and local smog. Usually, landfills flare, or burn off the methane to control its release, the utility said. 

Landfill-gas-to-energy projects capture this gas for electricity and heat, turning a harmful source of waste into a beneficial source of renewable energy. Since a landfill has continuous inflows of waste, this produces additional methane for future generation. Landfill gas is the only type of renewable energy that directly reduces pollution to the atmosphere, the utility said. 

These renewable energy projects safely divert landfill gas through extraction wells and pipe it to a landfill-gas-to-energy plant, where specialized engines convert it to electricity.  Landfill-gas-to-energy projects generate electricity more than 90 percent of the time, the utility said. 

Last June, OMPA signed a long-term purchase power contract with Tulsa LFG, LLC for a landfill-gas-to-energy project. The project became operational on Feb. 27.

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