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State and local representatives joined the management of the IESI Bethlehem Landfill and Pepco Energy Services representatives in Bethlehem, Pa., on November 25 for the grand opening of a new 5 megawatt landfill gas powered energy plant. The 8,800-square-foot plant houses a combustion turbine that will ultimately produce enough electricity to power 1,900 homes. The plant is owned and operated by Pepco Energy Services subsidiary Bethlehem Renewable Energy LLC and is fueled by methane generated by landfill decomposition.
Sam Donato, district manager of IESI Bethlehem, spoke at the ceremony, saying, “In 2004, we began researching technologies to put this renewable resource (landfill gas) to work. The Bethlehem Renewable Energy Project does more than provide a valuable commodity to our community, it also benefits the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and coal consumption (from traditional electric plants).”
According to David Weiss, president and chief operating officer of the Energy Services Division of Pepco Energy Services, the nominal 5 megawatt landfill gas-powered energy plant eliminates the need for 140 railcars of coal per year, and up to 73 tons of carbon dioxide emissions from burning this amount of coal in a conventional power plant.