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Energy Generation

 

NWRA POSITION

NWRA supports the continued use of methane gas landfill byproducts as renewable energy sources.

 

BACKGROUND

The “garbage dump” is no more. Today’s modern municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills are well-engineered facilities operating under strict federal and state regulations to ensure the protection of human health and the environment. Many U.S. landfills are also producing power through waste-to-energy technology and landfill gas capture.

EPA’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program promotes its beneficial use as an energy resource, which is a cornerstone of federal renewable energy initiatives. This helps to reduce landfill gas emissions by encouraging its recovery. Landfill gas is about half methane, or natural gas, allowing it to be used to fuel vehicles, create power for manufacturing facilities, and generate electricity for homes and offices.

Landfill gas can be used in a cogeneration project to generate both electricity and thermal power, conserving the use of other fuels such as natural gas, coal or fuel oil. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, landfill gas supplied more than twice as much renewable energy in the United States as geothermal did in 2017 and had an on-line reliability of more than 90 percent. 

EPA estimated that by the end of 2018 there would be 632 landfill gas energy recovery programs operating in the United States capable of generating 2,132.4 MW, which is the equivalent of powering approximately 1.28 million homes. EPA has identified 473 other landfills as candidates for such projects.

 

TALKING POINTS

  • EPA’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program promotes the beneficial use of landfill gas emission byproducts as an energy resource.
  • Landfill methane gas byproducts can be used to fuel vehicles, create power for manufacturing facilities, and generate electricity for homes and offices.
  • Landfill methane gas byproducts supplied twice as much renewable energy in the United States as geothermal did.

 

Updated January 2019.