After nearly two years of negotiations, the Town of Bourne may be ready to enter into a lease agreement with a company that wants to use trash from the town’s landfill to produce energy.
The company, Harvest Power, is seeking to use several acres at the town’s Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM) site off MacArthur Boulevard North.
The Bourne Board of Selectmen and the Bourne Board of Health have scheduled a meeting for next Tuesday, June10, to discuss and possibly vote on the site and development agreement negotiated by the ISWM staff and Harvest Power.
Harvest Power, Inc., with headquarters in Waltham and offices in the United States and Canada, plans to lease approximately 4.5 acres of land on the ISWM property, where it would build an anaerobic digester. Operating under a 25-year lease, the facility would digest food waste and other organic matter in the absence of oxygen within an enclosed vessel to produce biogas, which is essentially methane. This gas would then be combined with the town’s own landfill gas, also mostly methane, and be used as a fuel for engines that would produce energy on-site in a power plant. Residual solids would then be turned into fertilizer.
ISWM currently operates the landfill and the residential recycling center among other activities. ISWM general manager Daniel T. Barrett said that the contract, currently in final draft form for presentation next week, was agreed upon about a week and a half ago.
“Other than a few fine points,” Mr. Barrett said.
He said that the lease will be for 15 years, with two five-year extensions available to Harvest Power once the initial time period is up. Under the terms of the lease, Harvest Power will use 4.5 acres on the ISWM property as well as gas from the landfill. Both gases will be combined to make electricity. Mr. Barrett estimated that Harvest Power’s operation will produce approximately five megawatts of energy on a regular basis. He noted that five megawatts of electricity is enough to power 5,000 homes.
“That’s the yardstick, about 1 megawatt of electricity per 1,000 homes,” he said.
The generated electricity will then be sold under a power purchase agreement that Harvest Power will enter into with either NStar or National Grid, he said. It will not be produced specifically for town use.
“The benefit to the town is monetary on lease payments. Power doesn’t enter into it,” Mr. Barrett said.
Harvest Power will also pay ISWM to treat any wastewater that Harvest Power produces through its operations.
Mr. Barrett said the exact amount of money that Harvest Power will pay the town through the lease is still to be decided. He said that there are variables that will factor into the company’s annual payments to the town. Those variables and more specific numbers will be presented at next week’s meeting, he said.
Mr. Barrett also said that while there is no monetary cost to the town, as with any business endeavor there are risks. He said there are protections built into the lease to safeguard the town, should Harvest Power, for instance, go out of business. He mentioned there is a “restoration clause,” which required the company to put up a bond that would pay for the removal of its facility if its project proves to be a failure or it leaves before the contract ends.
The public is invited to attend the meeting, scheduled for June 10 at 7 PM at the Bourne Veterans Memorial Community Building.