20 August 2009 – An innovative renewable energy project by Scottish Borders Council will create enough green electricity to power more than 1000 homes, while cutting annual carbon emissions by the equivalent of around 30 000 tonnes.
The project, at Easter Langlee Waste Disposal site near Galashiels, Scotland, takes away the local authority’s burden of controlling and disposing of methane, a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide.
At the same time it has the capacity to generate up to 1 MW of clean power for the national grid.
The landfill gas generation scheme has been designed, developed, financed, and is operated by Manchester-based sustainable power group ENER-G. The 15-year contract could create a significant income for Scottish Borders Council as well as cost savings in infrastructure at the site.
The savings in carbon dioxide emissions is equivalent to the Council planting three million trees.
“The Council is effectively turning a liability into an asset and the income will depend on electricity output,” said Hugh Richmond, Managing Director of ENER-G Natural Power. “We will be using two engines with a total rated capacity of 800 kW minimum, and this capacity may be increased if there is sufficient gas production.
“The project is funded entirely by ENER-G and we will pay a portion of the electricity generation revenue to the Council, which does not need to get involved in major capital spending or extensive maintenance work, because we do all that.
“A further benefit to the Council is ENER-G’s ‘hire fleet’ approach, which means if there is greater amount of gas generated then we are obliged install the correct size of engine to meet the gas production, thus maximising generation potential.”
The site has been capped with plastic to prevent methane escaping into the atmosphere and wells have been drilled to transfer gas to a compact generator unit where the electricity conversion process takes place.
“The system involves an innovative application of tried-and-tested technology, which is why we can guarantee minimum service levels to the Council,” added Hugh Richmond.
This project demonstrates Scottish Borders Council’s continued commitment to the local environment by capturing and making use of a potential greenhouse gas to produce electricity over a substantial time frame. It is hoped that this will lead to other schemes to help protect the environment.