Construction on a new Kent County facility that will transform the greenhouse gas methane into electricity is expected to begin this summer, and be fully operational by the end of the year.

Delaware Electric Cooperative has signed an agreement to purchase power produced at the Delaware Solid Waste Authority’s landfill in Sandtown, Delaware. Methane is a natural byproduct of waste decomposing in the landfill.

DEC will purchase two megawatts of power produced at the landfill, enough to power 1,000 homes.

“Many people have no idea that methane gas can be used to generate energy. We are excited to seize on the opportunity to turn that gas into energy for Co-op members,” said Bill Andrew, President and CEO of Delaware Electric Cooperative.

Renewable energy company Ameresco will add two new methane-fueled engines to the engines already operating at the Sandtown landfill, increasing megawatt output from three to five megawatts of power when construction is complete. The engines convert methane into energy. DEC says Ameresco will fund the project, adding member rates will not be impacted.

“DSWA’s central mission is to protect the environment,” said Pasquale S. Canzano, DSWA’s CEO. “This landfill gas-to-energy project will utilize a renewable resource that would have otherwise been wasted, producing benefits for the environment as well as the local community.  As a Delaware Co-op member, DSWA is gratified to know that the energy we use will be a little more green.”

The Environmental Protection Agency says landfill gas-to-energy projects can reduce carbon dioxide and methane emissions from landfills by between 60 and 90 percent.

This agreement helps the DEC meet Delaware's renewable energy requirements which requires utilities to generate or purchase 25 percent of their energy from renewable resources by 2025.