A proposal to convert methane gas from the Missoula landfill to clean electricity has won the official support of Missoula County. While details are few and the project isn’t yet firm, county officials said the proposal by Republic Services would go far in helping the Missoula urban area achieve its goals of operating off 100% clean electricity by 2035.
“Republic has discussed this possibility in the past with some of the electric co-operatives as possible off-takers of that electricity,” said Diana Maneta, the county’s energy conservation and sustainability coordinator. “This would be supportive of the city and county’s joint goal of 100% clean electricity.”
Republic Services operates 75 renewable energy projects across the country, according to the company. Its 68 gas-to-energy projects at various landfills generate enough renewable energy to fully power more than 250,000 homes each year.
The facilities collect landfill gas and convert it to a clean, renewable fuel. According to the EPA, one Republic conversion at a Texas landfill reduces greenhouse gas emissions equal to more than 51,000 cars. A similar process is being explored for the Missoula landfill.
“It’s a way to use the gas that seeps out of landfills from the decomposition of the waste,” said Maneta. “Rather than flaring that gas off, which is what Republic currently does at the Missoula landfill, they can use that gas to generate electricity.”