May 22, 2014 8:14 am

City of Saskatoon turning trash to gas with green energy project


Watch above: From garbage to energy, new landfill gas collection facility opens

SASKATOON- One person’s trash is another person’s treasure and that phrase couldn’t be more true for the City of Saskatoon as it begins to cash in on a green energy project it began in 2011.

“We’ve been operating for about 50 days,” said Saskatoon Light & Power’s Kevin Hudson, “and we make about $3500.00 a day.”

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The revenue is generated from the city’s new landfill gas collection facility.

A clay cover capped a portion of the landfill in 2011 to prevent methane gas from escaping. Vertical wells drilled into the waste and connected by underground piping now capture the gas, pushing it to the power generation facility for use.

The entire system is now fully functional and will create $1.3 million in revenue for the city each year. At a total cost of $15 million to construct, the federal government contributed $6.3 million towards the project and the city covered the remainder with internal reserves. The facility will pay for itself in nine years.

Capturing the methane gas will reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions by 45,000 tonnes which is equivalent to removing 9,000 cars from Saskatoon streets.

Additionally, it will provide enough power for 1,300 homes in Saskatoon every year.

But according to the Canadian Geo Exchange Coalition, Saskatchewan is among the most polluting provinces in Canada. In a study by the coalition, Saskatchewan’s GHG emissions have increased by 66 per cent since 1990 with the highest ratio of emissions per person in the country.

“The province is growing and with a growing population we’re going to use more energy but this is going to counteract that” said Saskatchewan MLA Corey Tochor at the facilities grand opening Wednesday afternoon.

The province also touts its carbon capture project at Estevan’s Boundary Dam as another green initiative.

Within Saskatoon, Mayor Don Atchison is proud of the city’s accomplishment and says this is just one effort the City of Saskatoon has initiated in an effort to be more green.

“We’re doing a lot of composting now with citizens of Saskatoon who have 7,500 people this year with green bins out there so that will be wonderful,” said Atchison.

This is the first power generation facility to be built by the City of Saskatoon in over 100 years. Saskatoon Light & Power sells the power generated at the facility to SaskPower for distribution.

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