Greenhouse emissions could soon be converted to renewable natural gas now that Contra Costa County has given the go-ahead for a new processing plant and underground pipeline at Keller Canyon Landfill in Pittsburg. The board of supervisors this week unanimously approved Ameresco’s amended land use permit, environmental documents, mitigating negative declaration study, finding the project, with its mitigations, would not have a significant effect on the environment.
Massachusetts-based Ameresco already operates a landfill-gas-to-energy power plant at the landfill, which through filtration and drying, creates fuel used to fire internal combustion generators to produce electricity. Excess gas is then destroyed in a nearby enclosed flare facility.
Under the plans, the new renewable natural processing facility, to be located almost entirely at the landfill, would use that excess gas and operate independently of the existing gas plant to the east. “It would significantly increase the usage of landfill gas and energy that is now destroyed,” Stan Muraoka, county senior planner, said in his presentation to the board.
Jim Bier, Ameresco senior project developer, explained that gas emissions that are being generated in the landfill now are being wasted and going directly into the atmosphere. “So, what Ameresco is going to do is take that wasted energy and process it into renewable natural gas that can be used to displace fossil fuels in vehicles,” he said. “So, not only is there a tremendous financial benefit to the county from this project, but the environmental benefits should not be overlooked as well.”