For ten years, Washington Electric Co-op has been generating power from the stuff that Vermonters throw away. Their system channels methane gas from deep within the Coventry landfill to fuel the five Caterpillar engines that produce enough electricity to power 8,000 houses a day. That’s about 50,000 MWH a year and over half of WEC’s power mix.
This represents a sizeable investment for WEC, approved in stages by its owner-members. The benefits are tangible. The Coventry power is affordable (5.3 cents per kilowatt-hour) and environmentally sound, making good use of methane that would otherwise have to be flared to prevent it from escaping into the atmosphere and intensifying global warming.
“The Coventry plant is a tremendous success story and a perfect example of how we can produce electricity in a sustainable and responsible way,” explains Co-op General Manager Patricia Richards. “This local, stable, and renewable source of electricity produces power 24 hours a day at a very affordable price.”
For more about how Vermont’s new recycling rules may impact WEC’s future Coventry operations, see the July 2015 edition of WEC’s newsletter, Co-op Currents.