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Baltimore County News

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Date: Aug 2020

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.


Loans will Help Offset Cash Shortfalls Resulting from COVID-19 Business Closures and Contractions

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced today that the County has secured a $1.6 million CARES Act grant to provide low-interest loans to qualifying Baltimore County small businesses to help them recover from the sudden and severe economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.
 
“We are not only in the midst of a public health crisis, but an economic one, and government has a responsibility to help support our small businesses — the lifeblood of our communities,” said Olszewski. “These funds come at a critical time as our small businesses need immediate aid to adjust to the ongoing economic realities of this pandemic and to continue supporting their employees.”
 
The County will use these new grant funds, awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), to capitalize a new small business revolving loan fund that will be open to Baltimore County firms from all business sectors. The Department of Economic and Workforce Development (DEWD) will administer loans in amounts ranging from $50,000 to $250,000 that will provide working capital to help offset cash shortfalls resulting from COVID-19 business closures and contractions. Approved borrowers may use the funds for a range of needs including supporting payroll, acquiring equipment and inventory, reconfiguring existing or new space to meet Coronavirus guidelines, capital improvements and more.
 
“Baltimore County businesses are suffering and we need to leave no stone unturned to find funds from any source possible to support our businesses and their employees,” said Baltimore County Council Chairwoman Cathy Bevins. “I commend County Executive Olszewski, Acting Director of Economic and Workforce Development Chris McCollum, and the Economic Development team for identifying new funding sources to support the Baltimore County economy.”
 
“Maryland’s small businesses are facing the greatest threat in generations. Congress has a responsibility to ensure that our small businesses most in need, and their workers, have every resource available to help them face this pandemic safely, adapting to whatever changes may be necessary due to COVID-19,” said Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking Member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. “I’m proud we were able to inject more federal funds into Baltimore County’s small businesses. There is more we can be doing though. Senator Mitch McConnell must bring forward  the Heroes Act, which passed the House of Representatives in May, so that we can deliver more of the much-needed support for Maryland and across the country.”
 
DEWD expects to begin processing loan applications within the next several weeks. Businesses that are interested in learning more about the loan program are encouraged to contact the business development team at covidbizloan@baltimorecountymd.gov.


Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski issued the following statement following the announcement from Governor Larry Hogan and State Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon:

“As County Executive and a former teacher, I want nothing more than to get all our kids back to the classroom as quickly as possible—especially our youngest learners and students with disabilities and special needs. But we can only do that when we know we can keep our students and educators safe. Governor Hogan has been absent for months on calls where I and other local leaders have been asking for reopening guidelines from the state. Now, days before schools open, the Governor and Superintendent Salmon have finally released their guidance, while dangling $10 million to convince historically underfunded systems to open—whether they are ready or not. That’s not leadership. Maryland students and families deserve better.”


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017