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Council moves forward on renewable energy project

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Springfield City Council advanced a plan for biogas reclamation at the Springfield Noble Hill Landfill and the Southwest Wastewater Treatment Plant at its meeting March 11.

According to Erick Roberts, assistant director of Environmental Services, the department has been collecting and management biogases – those gas emissions produced by anaerobic decomposition – from both facilities for several decades, as required by environmental regulations.

Over that time, the technology to use biogas beneficially improved, allowing landfill and treatment plant biogas emissions to be used for heating and renewable energy production for electricity and heat at both facilities and also in partnership with City Utilities of Springfield.

Representing the bill at the council meeting, Roberts said the department has been researching the highest and best uses of biogases.

“As council is aware, the drive toward renewable energy sources has been a huge initiative nationally, with many grants, tax credits, low-financing being directed toward these types of projects,” he said.

He added that in addition to doing their own research, staff members have worked with consultants to research ways to update biogas production potential from city facilities.

“The results of all this research indicate that there is an opportunity to convert the city’s biogas at the landfill and the wastewater treatment plant to renewable natural gas and deliver these energy sources to the grid of natural gas pipelines,” Roberts said.

He said because of the complexity of the projects and the technology lead times, and because certain available grant opportunities require construction to begin in this calendar year, staff recommends using the design-build method of project delivery to expedite construction activities and procure key materials.

Council approved the measure to allow design-build as the project delivery method 6-0, with three members absent.

Councilmember Abe McGull said biogas reclamation is an exciting opportunity, and he asked how much the facilities produce.

Roberts guessed the landfill produces between 2,000-3,000 cubic feet per minute and the wastewater plant 400-1,000, depending on which technologies become available as the city works through the project.

“I’m excited about this,” McGull said. “This is great, and this is renewable energy and a great thing for the city.”

Roberts said a feasibility study indicates gas can be collected and moved through an upgrading process to remove impurities and make it natural gas quality, at which point it can be injected into one of the national natural gas pipelines. Multiple vendors operate different pipelines that are available, he said, and they have different quality requirements. The pipeline that is selected will help determine the selection of technology for the city.

Roberts said the department’s goal is to start selling natural gas within the next two to three years. Estimated revenue was not included in the explanation of the bill.

Council approved a bill declaring the city’s intention to use design-build as a project delivery method for the projects and establishing project design criteria.

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jfaught@regalplastic.com

How about piping it to the s.w. power station to lower the citizens of spfld's utility bills ?

Tuesday, March 19
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