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Expanded Landfill Power Plant Comes Online, Loan Repayment Begins

By Potomac Local News December 6, 2013 12:26 pm

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Photo taken at the Fortistar Prince William Energy Landfill Gas to Energy Facility Dedication Event Run-of-Show on Wednesday, December 4, 2013, 12PM - 2:30PM

Photo taken at the Fortistar Prince William Energy Landfill Gas to Energy Facility Dedication Event Run-of-Show on Wednesday, December 4, 2013, 12PM - 2:30PM

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. – An area landfill is turning more trash into energy.

A 4.8-megawatt facility that turns methane gas emitted by the landfill into electricity officially came online Wednesday at the Prince William County Sanitary Landfill on Va. 234. The new facility joins a 1.9 megawatt gas-to-energy facility in operation at the landfill since 1998.

The facility is operated by Fortistar, Inc. in White Plains, N.Y. and will generate power for up to 5,000 homes in the area. The power will be sold exclusively to the Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative through an exclusive agreement.

That agreement was put in place after Prince William County officials in 2012 approved a $1.6 million loan to Fortistar that was to be used to pay NOVEC for an electrical interconnection to connect the facility to the power grid. Fortistar is to provide 7% of the annual revenues generated by the new facility, $180,000 per year, with 3% interest, to pay back the loan in about 11 years, according to county documents.

Gas-to-electric technology is widely used across the U.S. Methane omitted by decaying trash at the landfill is collected and then fed into engines at the facility which then create the electricity.

The expanded gas-to-energy facility created 75 jobs during its construction phase.

Fortistar is also working on a new 6.4 megawatt renewable energy project in Henrico County. When it is completed the company says it will be producing enough power for up to 10,000 homes in the commonwealth.