Friday, November 1, 2002

Proposed power plant would turn trash into energy

The Associated Press

GRAYSON - An energy company and a landfill in northeastern Kentucky are teaming up to build a power plant that would turn trash into energy.

East Kentucky Power Cooperative, which supplies electricity to Grayson Rural Electric, announced Wednesday it will join with Green Valley Landfill to build a $4 million power plant that produces electricity from decaying trash.

Gases - mostly methane - emitted by the trash will be captured and turned into electricity through three generators, said Kevin Osbourn, a spokesman for East Kentucky Power Cooperative.

The program, called EnviroWatts, lets environmentally conscious customers buy energy that is generated from renewable sources.

"We think this will have a two-fold benefit for the community, and for the state," said Carol Fraley, Grayson Rural Electric president. "Using the landfill gas reduces reliance on fossil fuels and puts trash to a good use."

So far, 100 residential customers of Owen Electric in Northern Kentucky have signed up for the EnviroWatts program. Customers there pay $2.75 more per month for each 100-kilowatt block of green power.

In June, Danville-based Inter-County Energy began offering EnviroWatts. Blue Grass Energy Cooperative of Nicholasville followed in July, and Clark Energy in Winchester joined in August. Grayson Rural Electric has received several calls about purchasing power through EnviroWatts, said Ms. Fraley.

"There are a lot of folks whose conscience dictates they do the environmentally right thing," she said.

Grayson Rural Electric can't sell power through the program until the Green Valley plant is operational, which will require filing paperwork with the Kentucky Public Service Commission and building the new transmission line, Ms. Fraley said.

East Kentucky Power Cooperative has filed with Kentucky's Division of Air Quality for necessary permissions to start construction of the landfill gas power plant, Mr. Osbourn said.

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