SECCRA wins $1 million-plus grant to expand production of electricity from landfill gas

LONDON GROVE TOWNSHIP, PA— The Southeastern Chester County Refuse Authority has won a $1,093,427 grant to add another generator—the third—to its power plant at the SECCRA Community Landfill that generates electricity from landfill gas.

The “green energy” grant was announced Aug. 10 by the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA). SECCRA will match the grant with $400,000 of its own funds for the project.

The money will be used to install a 1.6 megawatt generator, to complement two generators on site already producing 1.8 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 1,110 homes. With the addition of the new generator, the plant will be able to produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of 2,000 homes. The electricity is sold to the regional power grid operated by PJM Interconnection.

The fossil fuel savings from the third generator, according to SECCRA, will be equivalent to 41,000 tons of coal per year. SECCRA said this savings would be achieved while also reducing air pollution from methane by 6.3 million pounds per year.

SECCRA Chairman Richard Cairns said the new generator was expected to be operational and on line by early summer 2010.

“This project has multiple benefits and is a win for everybody,” Cairns said. “It reduces greenhouse gas emissions from the landfill and helps reduce dependence on fossil fuels. In addition, the sale of the electricity and the renewable energy credits earned from the project will pay back the full investment in eight or nine years and will reduce landfill costs for all for all of our member municipalities.”

SECCRA is a non-profit municipal authority with a publicly appointed board of directors that provides solid waste disposal and recycling for about 90,000 residents in 24 boroughs and townships in the southern third of Chester County.

Cairns thanked public officials who supported SECCRA’s grant application, including U.S. Rep. Joseph R. Pitts, state Sen. Dominic Pileggi, state Sen. Andrew E. Dinniman, state Rep. Tom Houghton, state Rep. Chris Ross, and London Grove Township Manager Steven C. Brown.

SECCRA began producing electricity from landfill gas in January 2007. It previously received PEDA grants totaling $750,000 toward $3 million in overall project costs.