Flames used to rise from the stacks at the Chiquita Canyon Landfill off of Highway 126.
Decomposing waste naturally generates methane gas. Waste Connections, who operates the landfill, had been sucking the methane gas from underground and burning it.
“Nothing else was being used with the methane. It was being brought up to the flares and was just being burned. Now, instead of just having the methane being burned we’re actually producing electricity,” said Jesus Vega, Plant Specialist for Ameresco.
The captured methane gas is being conditioned and then used to turn turbines on a new 9.2 megawatt power plant, which generates enough energy to power up to 6,000 homes.
“It’s going directly on the grid and with a contract between the cities of Burbank and Pasadena they’re going to be using that energy for the next 20 years. That’s a 20 year contract,” said 5th District Supervisor Michael Antonovich.
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A public/private partnership between Los Angeles County, Waste Connections, the Air Quality Management District and Ameresco, a renewable energy management company, have turned Chiquita Canyon Landfill into a place that would make other landfills green with envy.
With the new power plant in operation Chiquita Canyon will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 45,000 tons.
“From the environmental prospective, the annual green benefits expected from the carbon reduction are equivalent to the following: the planting of 83,191 trees, the removal of 74,602 automobiles from the road, and the conservation of 1,044,960 barrels of oil,” said William Cunningham, Senior Vice President, Ameresco.
Cunningham joked about his own Boston accent then went on to praise Antonovich for his vision and commitment to renewable, alternative clean energy.
“This project goes hand in hand with the community and the corporate commitments to cleaner air, renewable energy, economic development, along with the reductions in greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming,” said Cunningham.
Antonovich, noting Cunningham’s Boston roots, joked about another Bostonian who owns the Dodgers.
“Hopefully we’re going to recycle a baseball owner that came from Boston very soon. That would help eliminate a lot of the pollution too in our city,” said Antonovich.