Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez was joined by County Commissioner Natacha Seijas, Toby Russell and Jennifer Holman of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), County staff and local business owners at a groundbreaking ceremony for the County's Methane Sequestration Project at the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer's South District Wastewater Treatment Plant (SDWWTP).
This project consists of the upgrade and expansion of the existing cogeneration system at the SDWWTP which generates electricity from digester gas currently being produced at the plant. Landfill gas which is produced from the Solid Waste Department's South Dade Landfill will be collected and piped to the SDWWTP where it will be mixed with digester gases. By combining landfill and digester gases, Miami-Dade County will increase the amount of self-generated electricity, therefore reducing the County's consumption of electricity generated from fossil fuel. Once completed, this project has the potential to produce 63,800 KW per day. In addition, it is estimated that this project will generate 40 jobs in the local economy.
"The Methane Sequestration Project is our largest alternative energy project to date. It illustrates how partnerships between residents, businesses and government can ensure we are doing what is necessary for a sustainable future," said Mayor Alvarez.
On September 14, 2009, Miami-Dade County was awarded a grant for $12,523,700 through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program which is funded under the Federal Stimulus Plan (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), and administered through the Department of Energy and Miami-Dade County's Office of Sustainability. The Methane Sequestration Project is one of 13 projects funded through the EECBG program, which includes a mix of energy management projects, citizen outreach and education, sub-grants, demonstration programs, construction projects, and incentive programs.
In the first year of the EECBG grant program, Miami-Dade County spent over $4.3 million, or 35 percent of grant funds. This exceeds DOE's milestone of spending 20 percent by September 30, 2010. Other accomplishments include: installation of a cool roof on a Homestead Library, deployment of energy efficient Thin Clients to County employees, hosting Home Energy Savings Workshops for residents in each of the 13 commission districts, providing grants for energy efficiency retrofits to our community based organizations and non-profits, issuing loans to our local businesses for energy retrofits, and the installation of solar panels on park recreational buildings.
The EECBG program is currently not funded past its initial three years (2009-2012). During these economically challenging times, without federal assistance, local governments would not have the financial resources required to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy. In order to ensure the sustainability of EECBG and Miami-Dade's energy conservation efforts, as well as to produce good-wage green jobs, continuation of funding is required.
A complete list of EECBG projects can be viewed at http://green.miamidade.gov.