Flathead Electric Co-op Plans Power from Dump

By Beacon Staff

The 135-acre Flathead County landfill, near Kalispell, has been collecting methane gas produced by decaying garbage and burning it, to prevent the greenhouse gas from escaping into the atmosphere.

By next year, the gas will be used to drive a 1.6-megawatt generator hooked up to the Flathead Electric Co-op’s distribution system. The generator will produce enough power for 900 homes.

Ross Holter is director of energy services for the co-op. He says the project is financed by $3.5 million in federal clean renewable energy bonds, and should pay for itself in about 15 years.

The Flathead Electric Cooperative is the second-largest electric utility in Montana, with 47,000 customers in the Flathead Valley and Libby.