Philadelphia Promotes Sustainable Energy Through New Biogas Facility and Website

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor Following a $47.5 million agreement between Framingham, MA-based Ameresco and the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), a new biogas-to-energy facility will be designed, built and maintained at the Northeast Water Pollution Control Plant (NEWPCP) located at 3895-3899 [...]

Following a $47.5 million agreement between Framingham, MA-based Ameresco and the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD), a new biogas-to-energy facility will be designed, built and maintained at the Northeast Water Pollution Control Plant (NEWPCP) located at 3895-3899 Richmond Street. The new Biogas Project is designed to generate 5.6 MW of power and over the next 16 years is expected to reduce PWD energy costs by over $12 million and lower carbon emissions by nearly 22,000 tons per year, according to an official statement released yesterday.

Half of the biogas generated from the wastewater treatment process is currently used for processing at the NEWPCP, while the other half is burnt off. The new facility will use this byproduct of sewage treatment to generate electricity and thermal energy for on-site use. According to Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug, recovering the hidden fuel that results from wastewater treatment processes leads to an enlarged energy portfolio, while improving the environment through innovative, green technology.

As a part of this public-private partnership, the new sustainable development project will bring a number of green jobs to the local community, said Michael T. Bakas, senior vice president at Ameresco. The company will oversee engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance on the project over the course of the contract.

In related green news, wind energy industry leaders, environmental advocates, policymakers and energy consumers now have access to a website, www.choosepawind.com, that promotes Pennsylvania’s economic and environmental benefits of wind power. The website encourages consumers to buy electricity generated from Pennsylvania’s new wind farms and support the state’s commitment to sustainable energy, while serving as an on-line green information and education center.

There are more than 17 operating wind farms in Pennsylvania and 23 more in development; together, these wind farms would generate jobs, property taxes and revenue for communities across the state.