Talbot County, Maryland
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Renewable Energy Project at the County's Bio-Solids Facility

For Immediate Release

Update on the Renewable Energy Demonstration Project at the County's Bio-Solids Facility on Klondike Road, Easton, MD

"Talbot County continues to review and develop strategies that integrate renewable energy resources into County facilities that create cost-effective solutions for energy conservation and possibly add new revenue sources to help offset the cost of government operations," says Talbot County Council member Dirck Bartlett.  Since 2011, Talbot County has saved over $60,000 in electricity costs through the use of solar energy, and has generated over $350,000 in revenue from renewable energy sources, thus providing an economic benefit to Talbot County that exceeds $400,000 in only three years.

In 2009, Talbot County's Public Works Department was awarded $3.8 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to design and construct a Renewable Energy Demonstration Project at the County's Bio-Solids Facility on Klondike Road just outside of the Town of Easton.  John W. Tieder, Inc. of Cambridge, MD was the general contractor, with Davis, Bowen and Friedel, Inc., of Easton, assisting the County with civil and structural engineering.  After the facility was constructed, the County worked with Easton Utilities in selling the renewable energy credits and with Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) in purchasing the surplus electricity.

The Renewable Energy Demonstration Project consists of 300 kilowatts (KW) of solar arrays and three 100 KW Northern Power wind turbines.  This facility has a total renewable energy generating capacity of 600 KW.  The Renewable Energy Demonstration Project has three sources of revenue: from selling excess electricity; solar-renewable energy credits (S-RECs); and wind generated RECs.

The County recently became part of the Maryland Energy Administration's (MEA's) Maryland Smart Energy Community (MSEC) program. To be considered, the County must be committed to having at least 20% of the electricity used by the County originate from renewable energy sources.  The Renewable Energy Demonstration Project generates 21.1% of the total electricity used by the County, thus Talbot County has met the MSEC Program goal of 20%.

In addition to meeting the MSEC Program goal, the Renewable Energy Demonstration Project has become a significant source of revenue for the County's Bio-Solids Facility which, as an enterprise fund, receives no County funds to support its operation.  The revenues from the Bio-Solids Facility consist of the revenues from the renewable energy facility and the fees charged to treat and dispose of septage.

In 2012, the Renewable Energy Demonstration Project received over $130,000 in revenue from the sale of the RECs and surplus electricity.  In 2013, the first full year of operation, the Renewable Energy Demonstration Project received $132,158.08 from the sale of RECs and surplus electricity; the revenue from the S-RECs totaled $104,400.00 and revenue from the Wind-RECs totaled $110.40.  In addition to the REC revenue, the surplus electricity generated was sold to ODEC for $27,638.64.

In 2014, the total amount of revenue collected from January through July totaled $76,206.60; revenue from S-RECs totaled $60,075.00 and revenue from the Wind-REC totaled $68.40.  Revenue from the sale of surplus electricity totaled $16,063.20.

In recent years, Talbot County has worked to install solar renewable energy generation equipment at its facilities throughout the county. By pursuing grants from the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Maryland Energy Administration, the County's Department of Public Works and Parks & Recreation have been able to offset much of the costs associated with the addition of renewable energy generation equipment.

Maryland is one of only 10 states currently participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a multi-state cap-and-trade program meant to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from electricity generating plants. RGGI is designed to reduce CO2, a greenhouse gas, from the State's electricity generators by roughly 10% from current levels by 2019.

With Talbot County exceeding the MSEC goal of 20% for renewable energy generation, the County can work with MEA to focus on reducing the amount of transportation petroleum consumed by the County. The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act of 2009 requires Maryland to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020, relative to 2006 levels. "Nearly 60 percent of the energy consumed by Talbot County Government already comes from renewable energy sources. This efficiency places the County at the forefront of the charge to reduce greenhouse gasses," says County Engineer Ray Clarke. The County recently purchased three Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid vehicles through a grant awarded from the Maryland Energy Administration.  The County has also completed the installation of an electric vehicle plug-in station at the County's Bay Street complex and has incorporated a sun tracking solar array to offset the electric use in recharging the vehicles.

Since 2012, the Renewable Energy Demonstration Project has received over $353,000 in revenue.  From a budgeting perspective, the Bio-Solids Facility expense budget totals $225,000 per year with renewable energy revenues budgeted at $125,000 per year.  "The utilization of renewable energy by Talbot County will pay dividends to the citizens of the county for decades to come," says County Manager, Clay Stamp.

For more information, contact: Ray Clarke, Public Works Department, (410) 770-8171.

Page last modified 01/12/18 18:17:43