Landfill-gas-to-energy plant to produce enough electricity to power 2,500 homes

Waste Management and McMinnville Water & Light will soon use everyday garbage to power thousands of Oregon homes, following the groundbreaking of Waste Management’s new energy plant at the company’s landfill west of McMinnville. The plant is a first for Yamhill County and another investment signaling Waste Management’s commitment to renewable energy and innovative, sustainable technologies.

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The $10 million project will work by collecting methane gas–created from the natural decomposition of waste–from the landfill through a network of underground pipes. From there, the gas will be used to power engines, which will then generate electricity on-site for sale to McMinnville Water & Light.

The plant will produce enough electricity to power 2,500 homes. It is expected to be operational in mid-2010, and if the Yamhill County Board of Commissioners approves Riverbend’s application to expand, it will generate energy for McMinnville over the next 30-50 years.

“Our groundbreaking ensures that not even garbage will go to waste,” said George Duvendack, Riverbend’s district manager. “By investing in landfill-gas-to-energy, we are developing clean and renewable energy to power homes and advance sustainability in our community.”

Paul Elias, general manager of McMinnville Water and Light, said the utility is looking forward to providing McMinnville customers with this low-cost and sustainable source of green power.

“Landfill gas is an especially smart option for us because it is a resource we already have in the community,” Elias said. “That translates to lower costs for customers because there are no transmission fees.”

“The fact that landfill gas is renewable and reliable is important as well,” Elias said. “Wind and solar are renewable, but not as reliable. With gas from Riverbend, we will have a steady and reliable source of clean and low-cost energy for decades to come.”

The U.S. EPA has endorsed landfill gas as an environmentally friendly resource that reduces reliance on coal, oil and other fossil fuels. Like wind and solar power, landfill gas is a natural resource that can be harnessed to produce energy and has many benefits and advantages compared to fossil fuels and other alternative energy sources.

Waste Management pioneered landfill-gas-to-energy technology over two decades ago. Today the company owns or operates 111 landfill-gas-to-energy facilities in North America and plans on having more than 160 in operation by 2012.

Waste Management is also developing a similar energy plant at its Columbia Ridge Landfill, located in Arlington, Ore., which is expected to go on-line later this year.

In 2007, Waste Management announced four sustainability goals, which include increasing the amount of waste-based energy produced. The company now creates enough energy to power over one million homes, and it is looking to double that to two million by 2020.

About Waste Management

Waste Management (NYSE: WM), based in Houston, Texas, is the leading provider of comprehensive waste management services in North America. Subsidiaries provide collection, transfer, recycling and resource recovery, and disposal services. A leading developer, operator and owner of waste-to-energy and landfill gas-to-energy facilities in the United States, customers include residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers throughout North America. For more information, visit www.wm.com or www.thinkgreen.com

About McMinnville Water & Light

McMinnville Water & Light provides low-cost, reliable electricity and fresh, clean drinking water to McMinnville residents and businesses. Founded in 1889, McMinnville Water & Light is recognized for providing some of the lowest cost power and water rates in the country, while achieving a leadership role in conservation and renewable energy. Today the utility also operates, maintains, and manages a 25-mile fiber optic network to serve the City of McMinnville and McMinnville school districts. For more information, go to www.mc-power.com.

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