And now, finally, some good news for Motor City, U.S.A.: Detroit Edison has announced that it will expand its renewable energy portfolio with a biogas project slated for construction in Kimball Township at the Smiths Creek Landfill. The utility has signed a power purchase agreement, recently approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission, with Blue Water Renewables, a subsidiary of DTE Biomass Energy, for power generated via this 3.2 megawatt (MW) capacity landfill facility.
Owned and operated by St. Clair County, the Smith’s Creek Landfill is one of the first commercial-scale septage injection landfill gas systems in the United States. In this process, “material” extracted from septic tanks (we’ll leave the specifics to your imagination) is applied to the landfill, which speeds up the decomposition of organic waste, increasing the useful life of the landfill (by creating more room) while increasing the rate of biogas production.
This power purchase agreement is part of Detroit Edison’s overall efforts to expand its renewable energy resources and meet the state of Michigan’s renewable energy goals for utility companies. Detroit Edison plans to add about 1,200 MW of renewable power to its generation portfolio–enough to provide 10 percent of its power from renewable resources–by 2015, the majority of which it expects to provide via wind resources, though the utility also has two solar energy pilot programs that could produce approximately 20 MW.
Currently, Detroit Edison accounts for nearly 4 percent of its total generation through renewable sources.