The Hickory Meadows Landfill Gas-To-Energy (LFGTE) project located in Hilbert, Wisconsin is the first LFGTE developed by Veolia Energy North America. The project involved the construction of a building and installation of equipment that converts methane gas to energy. The 4.8-megawatt (MW) electrical generation facility has the capacity to generate 42,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity per year, enough to power 2,800 homes. The facility includes three landfill reciprocating engine generator sets with a capacity of 1.6 MW each, fueled exclusively by the landfill gas. Landfill gas, which is normally burned off, is captured and sent via the landfill’s existing gas collection system to the LFGTE facility, where it is transformed into electricity and then sold to Wisconsin Public Service (WPS), the primary electricity and gas provider for northeastern Wisconsin residents. All of the power generated by the plant is purchased by WPS, along with the Renewable Energy Credits associated with the energy output.
As part of the 2005 Wisconsin Act 141, Wisconsin established a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), requiring utilities to meet a gradually increasing percentage of retail sales with qualified renewable sources with the goal of providing 10% of the state’s retail energy needs from renewable resources by 2015.
In addition to its environmental benefits, landfill gas qualifies as an eligible resource under Wisconsin’s RPS. The Hickory Meadow landfill gas-to-energy project helps WPS meet its RPS requirements. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its emission reductions and environmental benefits calculator, a 4.8 MW landfill gas-to-energy plant such as this is expected to achieve carbon dioxide emission reductions of over 25,000 tons per year, or the equivalent of removing 37,550 automobiles from the road each year.