Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Dane County, MGE Reach Deal that Benefits Taxpayers, Creates More Renewable Energy

January 12, 2009
Joshua Wescott, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606
County Executive

County, Utility Agree to Generate, Buy & Sell More Electricity at Landfill

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk was joined by Madison Gas and Electric CEO Gary Wolter Monday to announce the county and utility have reached agreement on a new contract to purchase methane-gas generated electricity at the county landfill.

Under terms of the new ten-year contract, MGE will purchase 26,000 megawatt hours of electricity generated at the Dane County landfill for nearly $3-million a year.  That’s enough electricity to power about 4000 Dane County homes annually.  The $3-million in revenue will help cover the cost of county services otherwise paid for by property taxes, like sheriff’s deputies and services for kids and seniors.

“Thanks to this innovative partnership with Madison Gas and Electric, we’re taking what’s otherwise a terrible pollutant and liability and turning into a money-maker for taxpayers,” Falk said.  “This home-grown green energy will make millions of green for our taxpayers and make sure they continue to receive the best public safety and human services available all while better protecting the air we breathe.” 

Dane County and MGE reached their first contract to purchase electricity at the landfill in 1997.  At that time, the county had installed two 800kilowatt hour (kwh) generators.  Since then, generation capacity has increased with a third 800kwh generated added in 2003 and another new generator with twice that capacity in 2004.  Another 800kwh generator will be added in 2009, meaning the landfill will generate enough power to run those nearly 4,000 homes.

“MGE has a long history of partnering with Dane County on issues ranging from the health of our air and lakes to increasing the efficiency with which we use our energy resources,” Wolter said.

Wolter noted electrical generation from the landfill gas could eliminate burning about 16,000 tons of coal.  Energy purchased from the county landfill represents about 6% of MGE’s total renewable energy supply.

If it’s left alone and not converted into electricity as is done at the Dane County landfill, methane gas from landfills is expensive to dispose of and about 20 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

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