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The original item was published from 11/18/2011 8:26:00 AM to 2/1/2012 12:05:00 AM.

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News & Announcements

Posted on: November 17, 2011

[ARCHIVED] Town of Erie Landfill Gas to Energy Project Update

Here’s what people had to say during today’s ribbon cutting ceremony

Mayor Joseph A. Wilson - Town of Erie

“As a business model - this project recovers landfill gas through better waste management to create a renewable energy source. But at its heart, it speaks to who we are. This project bolsters Erie’s reputation as a sustainable community committed to responsible planning, environmental investment and economic development.”

That’s win/win.

That’s the Erie Way.

The Erie Way is a focus on providing outstanding value to our residents who are truly proud of the great community we are building. We offer individuals, families and businesses a dynamic place for growth and prosperity. We offer opportunity to become part of something greater. And to me this project is reflective of those high standards and high expectations.

After today - we all will undoubtedly look at landfills differently. Thanks to the innovation of our project partners – we are transforming waste into a “green” asset.

Brian Karp, Waste Connections District Manager

"Whenever I talk to somebody about this project – the first phrase that comes to my mind is – ‘it’s sexy’. Everyday millions of Coloradans throw out their unused, their unwanted, their disposed of, their trash. They set it out on their curb. They go off to work. They live their daily life. They come home at night and it’s magically gone. For them it’s out of sight out of mind. But for me, that’s where the process begins. Because, what they don’t understand is: that when it leaves their curb, it’s my responsibility that on a daily basis all that trash gets disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. But now – teaming up with United Power, Landfill Energy Systems and the Town of Erie, with their support , we are able to take that trash – that’s not only coming in today – it’s the trash that’s come in over the past 30 years. And we are able to turn that into an energy source that everybody can use. So when I say it’s sexy – that’s the perfect definition. Taking something that somebody doesn’t want – something that somebody throws out – turning it around and making it something everybody can desire. Something everybody can use. So are landfills sexy? Heck yeah they are.

Rick DiGia, Landfill Energy Systems President

We are proud to be part of this project. Capturing an otherwise wasted resource and turning it into energy here in Erie. We are doing our part to help the State of Colorado meet renewable energy goals. Landfill gas itself represents a base load resource of renewable energy. Think about some of the other renewable energy sources – wind and solar. Wind only produces power when the wind blows. Solar only produces power when the suns out. But landfill gas projects…we run 24/7.

We are really a big part of the renewable energy solution here in the U.S. helping us displace fossil fuels. This plant is only one of two plants located in Colorado.

We plan on being here a good long time – providing reliable – low cost – renewable energy to the citizens of Erie and Colorado.

Ronald D. Asche, United Power CEO

When these types of opportunities come along, to partner with our communities, to help to these types of projects, we are very committed to doing that. A project like this is good for the environment, it’s good for the community. And it’s good for our member customers. And as one of my staff members described it to me – this Methane to Megawatt project really doesn’t get any better.

United Power’s role in this is to be the off-taker of the energy. What we provide is a revenue stream for the developer to help make this project pay out over the period of its operation. And we signed a power purchase agreement for the next 10 years to buy al the output produced by this facility.

This project is operational today at about 3 Megawatts – United Power has an annual peak load of about 300 Megawatts – so today it provides about 1% of our peak load needs. On an annual basis, it will meet about 2% of our total United Power energy requirements for all of our member customers. And when it gets to its full capacity of almost 5 Megawatts, hopefully in the next 2 or 3 years, it will supply almost 3% of our total energy system requirements.

Senator Bennet’s Office: James Thompson, Regional Director: Northern Colorado-High Plains

On behalf of Senator Bennet, I want to congratulate you for bringing this project to completion. I want to say how impressive the scope of this project is. It’s going to provide enough power for half of Erie. And I think that is very impressive. Kudos to the Town of Erie, Waste Connections, Landfill Energy Systems and United Power and everyone involved in the completion of this project and the planning of the project. It’s a great way to capture all the methane from three different landfills and really put it to good use. And not let that just escape. Of course it will greatly reduce our carbon footprint by reducing electricity demand from conventional sources.

Senator Bennet, who unfortunately could not be here today, sends his regards. He’s always been supportive of innovative, cost efficient ways to produce electricity, reduce waste and cut down on carbon emissions. He believes Colorado is on the leading edge of development and implementation of technology to increase our use of clean energy and to greatly diversify our energy portfolio, including incorporating solar, wind and natural gas – all of which are in great abundance in the state of Colorado.

Senator Udall’s Office: Pam Shaddock, Regional Director Northeastern Colorado

When Senator Udall is unable to attend an important event, he often asks me to read a letter. So I do have a letter from him that I will present to your Mayor. It reads as follow:

“Dear fellow Coloradans, guests, and dignitaries,

Congratulations on this ribbon-cutting ceremony. I am pleased to see such outstanding leadership in creating clean electricity in Colorado. This plan to convert methane into a form of useable energy is truly state of the art, and a model to all of Colorado and the nation. By converting waste materials into power, you are affirming your commitment to creating a sustainable future for our children, as well as to reducing carbon emissions.

Even more important, this project demonstrates what we can accomplish as a community through partnerships and collaboration. You have innumerable supporters in this venture, including the Town of Erie Board of Trustees and its staff, Waste Connections, Inc., Landfill Energy Systems, United Power and, of course, the residents of this fast-growing area.

Over the coming years, as this project hopefully sets an example to others, I know we will pride ourselves on launching this innovative endeavor right here in Northern Colorado.

Thank you for including me today in this celebration.
Sincerely, Mark Udall
U.S. Senator

Congressman Polis’ Office: Andy Schultheiss, District Director

The Congressman is stuck in Washington D.C. working on the Budget. But I am very confident in saying he would rather be standing on a landfill in Erie, Colorado.

I am very pleased on his behalf to contribute a few words. So congratulations to the Town of Erie, Waste Connections and Landfill Energy Systems for this wonderful new plant. I gotta say, I am a former city counselor in Boulder and I live there still – we’re a little jealous. This is a very cool thing in a sustainable energy front.

The Congressman asked me to say a few words about that concept – about sustainability. Which unfortunately, has developed a little bit of a political overtone over the last couple of years. But it need not be. Sustainability is really what my Grandfather used to call being frugal. It’s about using a resource until it’s used up. Until you can’t do anything else with it. And that’s what this project is all about. It’s about energy sustainability. About not letting that methane gas just escape into the atmosphere. Instead – to use it to power half the Town that it’s next door to. And that’s a remarkable concept. And while nothing much is is happening in Washington these days…on the local level, so much is happening in energy sustainability and in sustainability in general . That I feel wonderful about the prospect of this nation will hold for my children as they grow up. And Erie is really taking the lead. I congratulate you.

Governor’s Energy Office: Mona Newton, Senior Market Development Manager

Colorado is known for innovation. That’s what the Governor’s been talking about. That’s what we’ve all been thinking about. And this project is exactly that kind of example. So congratulations on the innovative aspect of this.

The quote I remember is: “All waste is lost profit.” And I think here is the perfect example of capitalizing on waste that could have been lost turned into a profit. And the profit is the jobs, it’s the helping to create energy security by using our local sources more. It’s helping to protect the environment. And its really looking at what are the long term costs for our citizens.

I could go on about how you are going to be use this energy for houses in Erie. I think that’s fantastic. Honestly, I live in Louisville, and I’d love to be able to say my electricity comes from a landfill. Because I agree with Brian. Landfills are sexy.

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