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Keyword: climate change

Through Partnership with EPP, Baltimore County to Significantly Reduce Methane Emissions While Generating Renewable Energy Directly to the County

Baltimore County today announced it has entered a new agreement with Energy Power Partners (EPP), a clean power-focused firm to participate in a landfill gas-to-energy system at the County’s Eastern Sanitary Landfill in White Marsh.

The two-phase project is the first large-scale renewable energy venture in Baltimore County’s history. “Climate change poses one of the most significant threats to our state’s long-term health and prosperity. This new project will reduce Baltimore County’s carbon footprint and help meet critical renewable energy goals,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “Baltimore County can and should be a leader in environmental sustainability and my administration will continue to innovate as we work to protect our shared environment for this generation—and the next.”

In 2019, EPP purchased the gas-to-energy facility located on the Eastern Sanitary Landfill, previously owned by Exelon Generation, and worked to restore and repurpose the site’s engines to more efficiently generate electricity from the produced methane.

“This is a great example of a public-private initiative that helps protect the environment while providing a reliable energy source,” said Steve Gabrielle, partner for Energy Power Partners. “We look forward to a long-lasting relationship with Baltimore County, and we appreciate their vision.”

Beginning in June 2020, the County entered into a power purchase agreement with EPP where the facility captures methane gas produced by the County’s 375-acre Eastern Sanitary Landfill to power two engine generators, providing energy directly to the local utility grid.

Through the utility net metering process, the County will purchase the energy produced to offset the power needs of County-owned facilities.

Project Anticipated to Save $285,000

The methane capture generators will power the equivalent of 1,600 homes and prevent the equivalent of 10,400 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. According to the EPA, the reduction of emissions is equivalent to any one of the below annual environmental benefits:

  • Removing 2,000 cars from the road, or
  • Planting 12,300 acres of forest, or
  • Reducing consumption of 1 million gallons of gasoline

The project is anticipated to save the County $285,000 in FY21.

Under this first phase, the project is expected to generate 13 million kWh annually. The second phase of the project will add a third engine to increase energy production to 20 million kWh annually. Phase two of the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

“With this project, Baltimore County is taking an important step towards embracing a vision for using our own renewable energy sources,” said Baltimore County Chief Sustainability Officer Steve Lafferty. “The challenges presented by climate change will grow in the years ahead and so we must continue to aggressively pursue sustainable solutions like this project to create a greener and cleaner future.”

Promoting Environmental Sustainability

According to the EPA, landfill waste accounts for the third-largest man-made source of methane in the country and reducing methane emissions from landfills is one of the best ways to provide an immediate and beneficial impact in combatting the impacts of climate change.

In 2016, the previous administration announced a goal to generate or displace at least 20 percent of the County’s electric demand from renewable energy sources by 2022. As of December 2018, little progress had been made to meet this goal.

Since taking office, the Olszewski administration has made the expansion of renewable energy a priority. Through this project, Baltimore County is expected to offset at least 11 percent of the County’s total energy consumption and continues to explore additional efforts to help the County meet or exceed the 2022 goal.

This is the latest effort from the Administration to promote environmental sustainability.

In 2019, Olszewski created Baltimore County’s first Chief Sustainability Officer who is leading the development of a county-wide Climate Action Plan, covering topics such as reduced energy consumption, promotion of green infrastructure and sustainable growth policy.

Earlier this year, Olszewski convened a Youth Climate Working Group to ensure youth voices and recommendations are included in the County’s Climate Action Plan and other sustainability efforts.

Last month, Baltimore County announced a new effort to expand the County’s marketable recycling program by restarting glass recycling—which had been sidelined since 2013.


Workgroup to Ensure Youth Voices Included in Efforts to Combat Climate Change

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced the formation of the Baltimore County Youth Climate Working Group to better engage young people in the County’s ongoing efforts to adopt sustainable practices and policies to combat climate change.

The first-of-its-kind workgroup will convene high school students from around Baltimore County to ensure youth voices, concerns, and recommendations are included in the County’s Climate Action Plan and other sustainability efforts.

Consequences of Climate Change in Baltimore County

“We are already seeing the consequences of climate change in Baltimore County, and they will only grow more severe in the years ahead unless we take action now,” said County Executive Olszewski. “Youth voices are among the most important in the global fight for our planet because they will be the most impacted by our actions. We need their vision and passion to build a cleaner, greener and more sustainable Baltimore County.” 

Earlier this year, students in Baltimore County and across the world participated in the Global Climate Strike to demand action be taken to address climate change. By engaging them through this working group, students’ impassioned call for progress can help lead to tangible solutions at the local level.

Student Opportunities

Students will have opportunities to meet with the County Executive, Chief Sustainability Officer, and other members of the administration to share their perspectives on climate change, discuss how it impacts their communities, and to develop potential solutions. Recommendations and feedback from the Youth Climate Working Group will be incorporated in the County’s final Climate Action Plan.

This is the latest effort from the Administration to promote environmental sustainability and enhance community input into government.

In August, County Executive Olszewski named former Delegate Steve Lafferty as Baltimore County’s first Chief Sustainability Officer. Lafferty is tasked with leading the county’s efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change and to promote countywide sustainability initiatives. The Sustainability Officer will lead the development of county-wide Climate Action Plan, covering topics such as reduced energy consumption, promotion of green infrastructure, and sustainable growth policy.

Bringing Students and Young People Into the Processes

“We are thrilled to provide young people with this opportunity to share their opinions and ideas about the impact of climate change,” Lafferty said. “By bringing students and young people into the processes, we can make sure they are part of the solution today while inspiring the leaders of tomorrow to carry on the fight for a cleaner, greener future.”

Baltimore County partnered with schools across the county to recruit 20 students to participate in the Working Group.

The Youth Climate Working Group will hold its first meeting on Monday, November 18, 2019.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017