Leading from the Left

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

One Man's Garbage....

One man's garbage is another man's energy source.

You may have seen the article in yesterday's Chapel Hill Herald about the county's initiative to turn landfill gas into an energy source. I've been wanting to pursue this for a long time and am glad that we're now taking concrete steps to turn the gas into economically viable energy.

The basics are as follows. Landfills--rotting garbage--give off methane and other gases. These gases cause odor and, even worse, they contribute to global warming. Methane is a green house that is many times more potent than car exhaust.

The plan is the capture the landfill gas, pump it to a small energy generation plant, and create electricity. In addition, the process that creates electricity also creates excess heat, and we'll be using this excess to heat buildings. So, we'll get two bangs for our buck.

Last Thursday the County Commissioners reviewed an analysis done by a consulting firm and then took the next step in the process: directing our staff to contact the University about using our landfill gas at Carolina North. Regardless of what gets built at Carolina North (and I recognize that there are diverse opinions about what should or should not be built there), the facilities on that campus will need energy. So we might as well pursue this promising option.