May create power, natural gas in 'win-win' for county, developer and environment; landfill expected to fill by 2029
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A new project seeking proposals for Deschutes County's Knott Landfill in southeast Bend could result in a win-win situation for the county, landfill users and the environment.
Waste in a landfill produces natural gas. For safety reasons, that gas at Knott is collected and burned every day in a flare.
But there may be another option to take that gas and turn it into renewable natural gas or electricity.
Deschutes County's Department of Solid Waste said Wednesday it is seeking proposals for a developer to implement a project for beneficial use of landfill gas produced at the nearly 50-year-old landfill.
Department Interim Director Chad Centola says the situation at the landfill is comparable to oil on an un-tapped property.
"If you lived in Oklahoma and had oil on your property, somebody would come knocking on your door and pay a royalty and pay you for it," Centola said. "We have gas out here that right now we're just burning off -- that we're not getting much beneficial use out of."
"And there are developers out there that are in the business to market that and price it off-site," He added.
There are two natural pipelines off-site of the landfill that stretch from Canada to California, and Central Electric Cooperative is right next door, making the landfill an already optimal location for renewable energy.
"A project like this could forego a rate increase for a couple years -- that way the county does get some indirect financial benefit," Centola told NewsChannel 21 on Wednesday.
Knott Landfill is expected to reach capacity in 2029, having expanded in several phases over the decades at the site off Southeast 27th Street.
Even though the landfill will eventually reach capacity, the trash will still be there -- constantly producing gas. That gas has to go somewhere, regardless of whether new waste is added or not.
"I think the biggest thing here is the environmental aspect of it," Centola said. "We're making something good out of the landfill here."
Centola said it's the earliest stage of the project, with a request for proposals by a Jan. 19 submission deadline.
The county will review developers' proposals and examine various aspects to determine which company would be the best fit for the project. Centola estimated the project wouldn't be completed for another two years.