Renewable Energy for Cool Counties
Wind Energy Purchase
The county purchased
5.8 million kWh of wind energy in 2005 from Washington Gas Energy
Services/Community Energy/Mountaineer Wind Farm in West Virginia,
bringing a reduction of 6.2 million pounds of CO2 in the two-year
contract. Fairfax County continued the commitment of purchasing 5 percent of the general county’s
energy from wind in 2007 and 2008 and has made a commitment to expand
to 10 percent of the general county usage in 2009.
The Department of Public Works and Environmental Services has adopted a
waste-to-energy approach, recovering methane, controlling nitrous oxide
and generating electricity from solid waste. Methane traps 21 times more
heat per molecule than CO2, and nitrous oxide absorbs 310 times more
heat. The waste-to-energy plant at the I-95 Landfill generates
electricity, offsetting the CO2 emissions equivalent to that of an
80 MW coal-fired power plant. Also, gas produced can be sold so the
recovery offsets energy that would be generated by fossil fuel.
Land Fill Gas Recovery and Utilization
The county is in the process of using landfill gas generated by
the closed I-66 Sanitary Landfill as a fuel source to heat county
buildings on the West Ox Campus. In particular, the new Department of
Vehicle Services garage has radiant heaters that can be easily converted
to burn landfill gas, as was done for the shop building at the I-95
In 2005, the county began the Phase 1 planning and design for the project. Construction of the necessary infrastructure to use landfill gas from the closed I-66 Sanitary Landfill as a source of renewable energy will be accomplished in Phase 2, which is to be completed in 2008. The total project cost is approximately $300,000, with estimated annual savings of $70,000 per year in reduced natural gas consumption. The landfill gas pipeline would run approximately 2,500 feet from the existing flare station to the garage. In addition, landfill gas is used to generate an additional six MW of electricity at the I-95 Landfill, and as fuel for sludge processing at Noman M. Cole, Jr. Wastewater Treatment Plant.