Centennial Park's methane-to-electricity project is up and running

2012-12-16T20:15:00Z 2012-12-17T06:35:03Z Centennial Park's methane-to-electricity project is up and runningLU ANN FRANKLIN Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
December 16, 2012 8:15 pm  • 

MUNSTER | The Centennial Park landfill methane gas-to-energy project is now fully operational and the Town Council recently signed the final acceptance certificate.

That officially moves the project from the construction phase to the operation-and-maintenance phase, said Clay Johnson, assistant town manager.

Energy Systems Group, of Newburgh, Ind., was chosen by the Munster Town Council in 2011 to provide the sustainable energy solution at the former landfill site along Calumet Avenue. Methane produced by the decomposing garbage in the century-old landfill is trapped and sent through piping into a compressor.

A new GE Jenbacher engine/generator turns the methane gas into electricity. What isn’t used to power the entire Centennial Park facility will be sold to NIPSCO at 10 cents per kilowatt hour through the fee-in-tariff program the utility company instituted in 2011.

“ESG has been running final checks on the system and after making a repair in the waste heat converter unit, the construction portion of our partnership with ESG has been completed,” Johnson told the Town Council at last week's meeting.

ESG also has an agreement with the Town Council to operate and maintain the unit at Centennial Park for a five-year period at a cost of $.0324 per kilowatt hour plus a 2 percent annual escalator.

Town Attorney Eugene Feingold is completing the final operations and maintenance agreement between the town and ESG, Johnson said.

Funding for the project came through two grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Munster tax increment financing fund. The Munster Redevelopment Commission authorized $2.5 million from the TIF fund to pay ESG. Centennial Park is part of Munster’s TIF district.

Munster Town Manager Tom DeGiulio credited U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, and U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., for helping Munster obtain the federal grants.

The methane gas-to-energy project is an environmentally sound and fiscally responsible effort, said David Nellans, Town Council president and Munster Redevelopment Commission chairman.

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Lawrence Roth, vice president of new markets with Energy Systems Group, said the project will produce about 1.1 megawatts of electricity.

Munster will send an invoice to NIPSCO for the electricity the town sells to the utility company, which will be paid monthly, Nellans said.

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