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Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative Announces Power Purchase Agreement


Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative has announced that its power supplier, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC), has signed a long-term agreement to purchase 100% of the power and renewable energy credits to be produced by a new, state-of-the-art landfill gas-to-energy generation plant to be built in Henrico County, Virginia.

The 6.4 megawatt (MW) renewable energy facility, called Richmond Energy LLC, will be constructed and operated by FORTISTAR of White Plains, New York, and located at the Republic Services, Inc. Old Dominion Sanitary Landfill on Charles City Road in Eastern Henrico County, near Richmond. It is expected to begin commercial operation in late 2011.

According to FORTISTAR, the Richmond Energy project will utilize four Caterpillar G3520 reciprocating engine generator sets rated at 1.6 MW each and, with the support of associated landfill gas clean-up and compression equipment, is expected to produce enough electricity to meet the needs of approximately 3,700 average Virginia homes. It is also anticipated that the new facility will add up to two new full-time local jobs and 10-15 temporary jobs associated with the design and construction of the project.

“The contract with Richmond Energy, LLC is yet another indication of the cooperatives’ commitment to clean, renewable energy and to the members we serve,” says John Lee, president and CEO of Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative and chairman of the ODEC board of directors’ Power Supply Committee, adding, “We are pleased that our power supplier has positioned itself to take advantage of these opportunities when they are available and that we are able to secure megawatts from renewable energy resources that come at a reasonable cost. And while mass generation from renewables is not yet a feasible alternative, because of both cost and availability, ODEC has done an excellent job of finding smaller projects that, collectively, are making a difference.”

“We are especially pleased that ODEC has the opportunity to add the Richmond Energy project to our growing portfolio of renewable power resources,” says Jackson E. Reasor, ODEC president and CEO. “Our goal is to continue to build and diversify our sources of electricity to include both traditional and economically-viable alternative sources of generation to assure that the over one million consumer-members who depend on ODEC’s 11 member electric distribution co-ops throughout the Mid-Atlantic region have the reliable and affordable energy they need now and in the future.”

“Henrico County is very pleased that this project will be beneficially re-using landfill methane gas, an otherwise wasted resource, to produce electricity. This project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and is considered a win-win situation for all parties involved,” says Arthur D. Petrini, Henrico County director of public utilities.

“The commissioning of this renewable energy resource for the people of Virginia is another example of Republic’s commitment to the environment,” says Don Slager, president and COO, Republic Services. “This plant represents the current best available technology for emissions controls, making it an extremely clean energy source and will help the state increase its renewable energy supply.”

Landfill biogas, which is created when organic material in a municipal solid waste landfill decomposes, consists of about 50 percent methane. It is a readily available, local alternative energy source that offsets the need for imported sources of fossil fuels, that can be converted and used in many ways: to generate electricity, heat or steam; or as an alternative vehicle fuel.
Mark Comora, president of FORTISTAR, says, “Landfill gas projects are a reliable and cost effective way to generate renewable energy obligations nationwide, and I am pleased that ODEC, Republic, and Henrico County share our vision for this project. We are excited to be underway with the design and construction of the Richmond Energy project and to expand our relationships with ODEC, Republic, and Henrico County.”

The power purchase contract with the Richmond Energy, LLC project is ODEC’s first such contract executed in Virginia. ODEC has similar power purchase agreements with landfill gas-to-energy projects in Worcester County, Md., and Sussex County, Del. In the past three years, ODEC has also entered into power purchase contracts for energy from two wind projects in Pennsylvania, a hydroelectric project in Bath County, Va. and a wind farm under construction in Garrett County, Md. ODEC projects that around 5 percent of its power purchases will be generated from renewable resources in 2011.

Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) owns 11.6 percent of the North Anna Nuclear Power Station in Louisa County, Va., and 50 percent of the Clover Power Station in Halifax County, Va. It also owns and operates additional generation facilities in Fauquier County and Louisa County, Va., and owns 50 percent of a facility in Cecil County, Md. ODEC is a generation-and-transmission cooperative (G&T) that provides wholesale power to Mecklenburg Electric and 10 other electric distribution cooperatives in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. ODEC and its member systems are not-for-profit electric cooperatives that are owned by the consumer-members they serve.


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