~ Springfield's Environmental Services department has recently provided an update on its Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) project at the June 4 City Council Lunch Workshop. The project aims to convert biogas generated at the Noble Hill Sanitary Landfill and Southwest Wastewater Treatment Plant into renewable natural gas and deliver it to the grid of natural gas pipelines.

According to Environmental Services staff, a Renewable Natural Gas Feasibility Study was previously conducted to gather information on other RNG projects, assess the potential biogas production from the City's landfill and wastewater treatment plant, and determine the feasibility of the project. The results of this study have shown that converting to RNG is the most beneficial use of the City's biogas. It also presents several options for monetizing the resource, which can help fund existing and future environmental liabilities, promote renewable energy production, and protect City ratepayers from excessive rate increases.

The conversion project will involve designing and installing biogas cleaning equipment, gas compression equipment, and a natural gas pipeline interconnection point. The initial capital needed for construction at both facilities is estimated at $31.6 million, with an additional $3 million required for annual operations and maintenance costs.

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While this project will require a significant financial investment from the City's solid waste and clean water enterprise funds, Environmental Services is actively pursuing various financial incentives and grant opportunities to support it.

The feasibility study suggests that apart from monetizing an existing biogas resource, the RNG project could potentially generate additional revenue for Environmental Services. This would enable them to continue their mission of protecting Springfield's quality of life and preserving its unique natural resources in the long run. It is estimated that after accounting for operations and maintenance expenses, the project could yield an annual net revenue between $4-19 million.

In March, City Council approved the use of a design-build project delivery method for this initiative. As part of this process, Environmental Services issued a Request for Qualifications from design-build teams earlier this spring and is expecting design proposals from shortlisted firms in August. The project is scheduled to commence this fall, with the goal of bringing RNG capability online by fall of 2025.

This project marks a significant step towards achieving Springfield's environmental goals and promoting sustainable energy production. With the support of City Council and the diligent efforts of Environmental Services, the RNG project is expected to have a positive impact on the community and its natural resources for years to come.

Filed Under: Government, City

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