(Black Press file photo).

(Black Press file photo).

Waste-to-energy programs being explored by City of Red Deer

Mayor Ken Johnston is meeting with an alternative energy company in two weeks

Alternative energy projects that turn landfill gases into power on the electric grid could be considered for Red Deer, said Mayor Ken Johnston.

Johnston was at a weekend conference in Regina, where he toured their landfill. He was told Saskatchewan’s capital city has drilled 53 bore holes into its garbage dump to access collected pools of methane gas from decomposition.

The extracted methane is powering generators, and the off-grid electricity that is produced is sold to Sask Power. So far, it’s enough to power 1,000 homes in Regina, added Johnston.

“You might think that’s not a lot, as Regina has about 60,000 homes… but it’s a start,” said the mayor, who intends to see whether this project is feasible for Red Deer, which has about 42,000 homes.

“It’s a good use of greenhouse gasses and it turns waste into energy, so it’s a win-win,” he added.

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Red Deerians who landfill less garbage could be rewarded on their utility bills

Johnston is meeting in two weeks with a company that’s interested in waste-to-energy projects, but he won’t know more details about what is being proposed until after their discussion.

The viability of whatever project is piloted would first have to be discussed with city engineers and utility workers before it is brought to council for approval, he said.

The city of Red Deer’s staff have long been exploring innovations in this area.

In 2018, a vacuum system was installed in the local landfill to suck some greenhouse gases out for capture and flaring. City council was told during budget talks that once the system is running there will be 20 times less methane emitted into the atmosphere.

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