All three finalists in a request for proposals to utilize landfill gas at the Madison County Solid Waste Department will have to go back to the drawing board. At least partway.
About a dozen of Madison County's 19 supervisors pored over the data presented by Planning Department Assistant Director Paul Miller and engineer Kevin Voorhees at a joint meeting of the Public Utility Service and Solid Waste and Recycling committees July 20. It was hoped a vendor would be identified for recommendation to the full board of supervisors at its August meeting.
As matter decomposes in the landfill, it creates gas that the facility currently burns off. The SWR committee has been working this past year to maximize gas production and harness it to make it attractive enough to sell off as a lucrative investment to an energy producer.
Supervisors Richard O. Bargabos (Smithfield), Douglas Holdridge (Lincoln) and James Goldstein (Lebanon) were among those who requested more information from Pennsylvania Power and Light, Waste Management and Oneida-Madison Energy Cooperative, the three outfits whose proposals are being considered for the job.
Holdridge said he had not understood that the projections provided were forecast only for the first year. Bargabos said the "apples-to-apples" comparison data was flawed because the accounting methods used by each vendor differed. He said he felt that accounting difference put the only local company, OMEC, at a disadvantage.
WM and PPL, Miller said, had the distinctive advantage of experience behind them. Not mentioned in OMEC's initial proposal was the fact that another experienced firm, Innovative Energy, would be helping them out.
"[Innovative Energy] is one of the biggest [energy producers] in the state," Voorhees said. "I hoped they would submit a bid, but they didn't. They are on board to design, build and operate [the project for OMEC], but there's nothing in writing. That reassures me about OMEC's ability to do that."