In 2013, we and our partners generated over 229,000 Megawatt-hours of renewable electricity. That is enough to power over 30,000 New England homes. Here are a few of the ways we are capturing energy at our facilities.
Landfill Gas to Energy
In our landfills, waste gradually decomposes and produces landfill gas, which we can capture and use as a fuel for producing renewable energy. Today, six of our landfills are equipped with landfill-gasto- energy power plants, and we have three more projects under development. In 2013, these facilities delivered 227,000 Megawatthours of electricity to the power grid. Producing power from landfill gas is a double win for climate protection: it keeps heattrapping methane out of our atmosphere and it replaces fossil fuel based power generation.
As partners in the AGreen and BGreen Energy projects, we have 800 kilowatts of renewable energy generating capacity at two dairy farms in Massachusetts. Through on-farm anaerobic digestion, we are using renewable resources - cow manure and food processing residuals - to produce enough electricity for hundreds of homes, while also returning valuable organic nutrients to the soil.
Landfill Solar Farm
We envision our landfills evolving into multi-use renewable energy parks, and we actively invest our time and resources to make this vision a reality. Building upon incentives we were able to secure through the Vermont SPEED program, Borrego Solar Systems, installed a 12-acre solar photovoltaic array at our landfill in Coventry, VT. With its 8 Megawatt (MW) landfill gas to energy plant (owned by Washington Electric Cooperative) and this new 2.2 MW solar facility, the Coventry site is helping to diversify and localize Vermont's energy supply.
Landfill Heat Recovery
This February, our North Country landfill started using geothermal loops to recover landfill heat and warm their maintenance shop. Shutting down their oil burner saves them thousands of dollars per year, reduces their exposure to fluctuating fuel costs, and cuts their carbon footprint. The project is thought to be the first of its kind in North America. The site's engineering consultants, CMA, received an award from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists for their involvement.
Cabot Creamery Closed Loop Recycling System
Cabot Creamery is a cooperative of 1,200 dairy farm families, with four dairy processing facilities in upstate New York and New England. A long-time Casella partner, Cabot is dedicated to sustainability and always ready to collaborate on innovative new resource solutions. Most recently, Cabot's creamery facility in West Springfield, MA began pioneering an exciting new closed-loop solution for organic byproducts such as whey. Casella delivers the material to Barstow's Longview Dairy (a Cabot member farm), runs it through the BGreen Energy anaerobic digester, and creates electricity for the power grid, which Cabot then purchases to operate their creamery. Now the equivalent electricity needed to churn Cabot's butter at the West Springfield facility comes from Barstow's Longview Farm.
We take pride in working with our partners to discover environmentally and economically sustainable ways to capture renewable energy value from society's waste streams.
Learn more about our Sustainability Initiatives
Capturing value from waste through innovative resource solutions.
Our comprehensive Resource Solutions enable us to apply our knowledge and experience in recycling, collection, organics, energy and landfills to create economic and environmental value for our customers and our communities. Click here to download the PDF version of our 2014 Sustainability Report