Methane-to-energy project in county worth emulating

How good is Lycoming County’s gas-to-energy project that began operations last fall?

Good enough to be one of seven places in the country to receive the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s award for excellence in landfill gas energy projects for 2012.

The facts of the project make the award seem like a no-brainer.

More than 70 gas wells were drilled to feed a new combined 6.2-megawatt turbine that operates off of the landfill’s waste gases.

The system was constructed and is owned by PPL Renewable Energy, producing 80 percent of the electrical needs for the nearby Allenwood Federal Correctional Complex and 90 percent of the electrical and heating needs for the county’s landfill complex.

PPL buys gas from the county to operate the turbines.

The county buys back a portion of the electricity and sells it to the prison complex.

Power also is sent to the electrical grid and used locally.

Perhaps best of all, since the advent of the gas-to-energy operation, there is no more excess methane being flared off at the landfill.

How prolific is the operation?

The project produces enough electricity to power 4,000 homes a year and has the equivalent reduction of 80,000 barrels of oil a year, according to PPL Renewable Energy.

This is what can happen when government and other agencies work together with practicality in mind.

Energy use and conservation, government savings, and environmental health all are served by this project.

We don’t think it’s an overstatement to say this methane-to-energy project is an example for the entire country to emulate.