News | March 2, 1998

Landfill Gas to Help Light Albany

NEO Albany LLC (Minneapolis, MN) expects its 1.9-MW power plant in the Albany (NY) landfill to be on line in March, according to the plant's manager. NEO has lease rights to two sites in the landfill: the 60-acre greater Albany landfill, closed in 1991, and the 16-acre interim landfill, closed in 1997. NEO expects to produce power for the next 20 years using the landfill resource. Previously, the methane was vented to the atmosphere--a practice being proscribed by the U.S. EPA since it is a greenhouse-forming gas.

Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. is paying NEO U.S.$0.0182 per kW-hr. The utility estimates NEO's plant will generate 12-GW-hr a year. The utility says that it currently suffers a surfeit of electric capacity. However it says it will purchase the landfill-gas' power since it is less costly than that from other private generating plants. Also, state regulations require it to do so.

An Albany Corporation counsel said NEO will pay the city based on its ability to extract methane and sell it.

Several years ago, the state Energy Research and Development Authority gave a grant for the laying of gas-collection pipes under the landfill. Those pipes, have been supplemented by new ones installed by NEO.