Biogas, landfill gas users win EPA onsite green power awards

By Anna Simet | October 20, 2015

The U.S. EPA has announced its annual Green Power Leadership Awards, this year recognizing 22 Green Power Partners and three renewable energy suppliers across the country.

Award winners are being recognized for their efforts in expanding the domestic renewable energy market through generating or purchasing green power.

All three winners in the onsite generation category were users of landfill gas or biogas—the city of Hayward, California, for its water pollution control facility; General Motors for its Ft. Wayne plant in Warren, Michigan, and New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Hayward installed a 700-kilowatt cogeneration facility designed to run on biogas generated at its WPCF, and decades later, added a 1-MW solar installation. The two technologies met about 20 percent of the facility’s total energy demand. In 2013, the WPCF explored options for increasing on-site power production, and commissioned a fats, oils, and grease receiving station that discharges the materials into its digesters. With more biogas being produced, the old cogeneration system was replaced with a new 1.1 MW system, which together with the solar array produces more power than the plant needs. Excess electricity is exported to the grid.  

The city of Hayward is also among a few cities in California that have adopted climate action plans.

General Motors/GMVM Ft. Wayne Assembly Plant installed an on-site landfill gas-to-energy system that produces more than 53 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year. It supplies over 40 percent of the facility's total electricity usage. In addition, the facility has been operating landfill-free since 2011, meaning no daily operations waste is sent to landfills.

New Belgium Brewing Co., a craft brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado, uses on-site solar and biogas systems to generate more than 1.6 million kWh per year, equal to nearly 13 percent of the facility’s electricity use. New Belgium's on-site process water treatment facility captures and uses biogas to fuel its cogeneration system. In 2014, the brewery increased its on-site solar capacity to 300 kilowatts.

New Belgium also conducts tours to provide a closer look into its clean energy operations, has implemented an internal tax on its electricity and natural gas purchases to advance its commitment to clean energy, and is an active participant in several industry environmental groups. The company received a Green Power Purchasing Award in 2001.

The 2015 Green Power Leadership Awards were presented on Oct. 19 at the annual Renewable Energy Markets Conference in Arlington, Virginia.