By Mary O’KEEFE
The City of Glendale will be reaching out to the community to share information on the Scholl Canyon Biogas Project. During a Glendale City Council meeting councilmembers discussed the importance of reaching out to the public to explain what their plan will be regarding the Scholl Canyon project. CVW contacted Atineh Haroutunian, Public Benefits Marketing manager with Glendale Water and Power with questions concerning the project and its future.
“The Scholl Biogas Regeneration Project aims to install four gas engine generators, along with a landfill gas cleanup system, with the purpose of capturing and incinerating the existing landfill gas (LFG) and capitalizing on this renewable energy by-product from such incineration for beneficial public use as a renewable energy resource,” Haroutunian stated. “Currently, the LFG generated by the decomposition of fill materials in the Scholl Canyon landfill is collected, compressed to remove liquids and combusted in an existing flaring system. The project will initially generate 12 megawatts of non-intermittent, locally generated electricity, [which] is enough to power over 11,000 homes using renewable energy.”
On Nov. 30, 2021, the Glendale City Council approved/certified the Conditional Use Permit and Special Recreation Permit and the Environmental Impact Report for this project. The GWP staff had recommended the Council issue the Full Notice to Proceed for the second and final phase of the project.
“Biogas is produced after organic materials [plant and animal products] are broken down by bacteria in an oxygen-free environment, a process called anaerobic digestion,” Haroutunian explained. “Biogas systems use anaerobic digestion to recycle these organic materials, turning them into biogas, which contains both energy (gas), and valuable soil products (liquids and solids).”
“Biogas is inherently renewable contrary to fossil fuels because it is generated from biomass, and this source is practically a reserve of the solar energy via photosynthesis process. Anaerobic digestion biogas will not only enhance a country’s energy basket status but also contribute significantly in conserving natural resources and protecting the environment,” according to a study by the National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information.
The United States currently has 2,200 operating biogas systems across all 50 states, and has the potential to add over 13,500 new systems. Stored biogas can provide a clean, renewable and reliable source of base load power in place of coal or natural gas. This type of generation is much better and cleaner than just flaring the methane onsite. It creates a valuable renewable asset for the City and counts towards the City’s renewable portfolio, according to Haroutunian.
The European Union has developed biogas plants for about 40 years.
One of the concerns voiced during a City Council meeting was how this biogas project would affect the City’s push toward more solar power.
Haroutunian said the project would not affect the push for solar and that GWP is continuing to identify City owned properties for future solar sites. The department will present its findings to the Council at the end of this month.
At a past Council meeting during a presentation by GWP concerning the project, there were some questions raised about the data presented. GWP is working on those issues and will be presenting a clarification of that information.
The GWP has four months to conduct outreach after which, according to Haroutunian, the department will make arrangements for the community to have a “robust discussion” and to answer questions.
There was another concern about the possibility of fire at the biogas facility.
“The [Glendale] fire chief could be present at upcoming meetings with residents to address any questions and also at the upcoming Scholl Canyon Biogas meeting,” Haroutunian said.
Not everyone is in favor of this project. Next week CVW will present opinions of those who oppose or have concerns about the biogas project.