Plant going online burning methane from landfill

A new power plant is going online in Southern Oregon that produces electricity from methane gas drawn off a landfill.

Rogue Disposal and Recycling plans a ceremony today to dedicate the Dry Creek plant in White City, which will produce 1.3 megawatts, enough to power about 3,000 homes.

The plant is the fourth of its kind in Oregon and the first in the state in nine years. The others are in Portland, Corvallis and Eugene.

Another is due to go online next year at Finley Buttes in Northeastern Oregon.

Methane is a greenhouse gas 23 times more potent than carbon monoxide. Getting rid of it is part of the battle to turn back global warming.

Landfills are the biggest single source of it in the U.S., accounting for 1.8 percent, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Other major sources are livestock, natural gas systems and coal mining.

Large landfills are required by law to collect and burn off the methane than forms as fruits and vegetables decompose in landfills. Small landfills are not. Using the gas to generate electricity is a bonus that is supported by federal and state incentives, as well as the sale of carbon offsets.

EPA reports there are about 400 power plants around the country that burn methane drawn off landfills, and a potential to build 560 more, which would produce enough electricity to power 870,000 homes.

— The Associated Press

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