County Leases Landfill Rights

June 29, 2008
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GRAND RAPIDS — Kent County commissioners agreed last week to lease the methane-gas rights at the county-owned South Kent Landfill to Granger Electric of Byron Center.  Granger plans to convert the gas into electricity and then sell the power to Consumers Energy.

The lease is for 20 years, with a five-year renewal option. The county will get 18 percent of the gross revenue from the sale of electricity, 3 percent of the gross revenue from the available tax credits, and will share in the revenue coming from the sale of renewable energy certificates.

County Department of Public Works Director Doug Wood said Kent could receive from $380,000 to $400,000 worth of revenue from the lease in the first year of operation.

“If we get the facility up and running by the end of the year, we get 21 percent.”

The lease lets the county keep the carbon, greenhouse gas and other non-emission reduction credits that could give the county a few hundred-thousand more dollars in the future, as long as the landfill continues to produce the gas.

“We will maximize the production of methane as long as it’s there,” said Wood.

But Wood said Consumers Energy is set to get 80 percent of the renewable credits and he wants to see that ratio changed. He pointed out that the county’s waste-to-energy facility already plays a big role in the utility’s green energy program and feels the county should get more than 20 percent of those credits.

One way to boost methane production is to let landfills accept yard waste, something state law currently prohibits. A bill being considered in Lansing, though, would lift that restriction if a landfill committed to turning the yard waste into energy production.

“If that law is passed,” said Wood, “then we will have a discussion with the board about that issue.”

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