Gas from a former dump is generating enough electricity to power up to 500 homes.
Cork City Council says it has become the first local authority in the country to acquire a special licence to generate electricity in its own right at the city’s former Kinsale Road landfill.
It has spent some €40m remediating the site which opened in 1963 and which accepted an estimated 3.5m tonnes of domestic waste until it ceased landfilling operations in 2009.
Since then, the site has been profiled and capped as part of a massive environmental project to transform it into Tramore Valley Park.
It is hoped the huge new public park will rival Dublin’s Phoenix Park when it opens to the public next summer.
During the lengthy remediation process, which cost €150,000 per acre, the site was capped and a network of pipes was laid to collect the methane gas generated as waste degrades.
A giant vacuum machine is now sucking the gas to an electricity generator, which will produce up to three million units of energy every year. The electricity is being sold to private energy company, Vayu Energy, which is in turn feeding the power into the national grid.
“The quantity of electricity being generated is adequate to supply 500 houses on an ongoing basis until 2021,” said council engineer Michael O’Brien, who has overseen the transformation of the entire site from a dump into the vast public park it is today.
But he said the electricity generation operation will also help the council, which consumes up to 30m units of energy a year through electricity and fuel consumption across its operation, meet its own ambitious energy reduction targets set down at national level.
Vayu Energy’s Ross McConnell said they were delighted to partner with the council on this project.
“We see enormous potential for schemes such as this to transform the way electricity is produced in Ireland over the decades to come,” he said.
The electricity generation project is a collaboration between the council, Vayu Energy, and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, who are providing ongoing support for the sale of electricity under a national scheme.
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