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Published: Wednesday, 4/21/2010

Councilmen urge Toledo to exploit its energy assets

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Two Democratic Toledo councilmen called on Mayor Mike Bell yesterday to draft a comprehensive energy plan to use city assets like electricity being generated at the Bay View Waste Water Treatment Plant in North Toledo.

The city is spending more than $28 million at the Hoffman Road landfill to capture methane gas and pipe it to the city's wastewater treatment plant.

The methane gas, a natural by-product of rotting garbage, will be mixed with methane produced at Bay View.

The combined stream of gas would be used to power turbines that generate electricity.

"The cogeneration facility is partially operational and already creating green power and renewable energy credits,"

Councilman Joe McNamara said outside the plant.

"Once it becomes fully operational, the plant will produce more power than it can use … and there is currently no plan for this excess power," Mr. McNamara said.

He said the solar field and wind turbines at Collins Park will also produce so-called "green power" and energy credits.

Councilman Mike Craig said the power could be used to reduce electricity rates for Toledoans.

Toledo Public Power, a municipal power utility, would sell power the city generates.

It could also purchase it off the power grid to sell wholesale, or it could be used to provide lower electric rates to consumers and businesses, the pair said.

"I think the economic development aspect of this is crucial," Mr. Craig said.

"We have an opportunity here to make Toledo more energy independent and to move forward with a comprehensive energy plan so I can't see a downside at all," the councilman said.

The methane gas from the city-owned landfill is expected to last at least 30 years.

Mayor Bell yesterday said creating such a comprehensive plan would not be an immediate priority for his administration. The mayor said the city must focus on basic services, including public safety, street repair, and refuse collection.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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