Co-ops & Community Jobs
Edgecombe-Martin County EMC helps convert landfill gas to energy
Edgecombe County's landfill gas generation project south of Tarboro received a financial boost from Edgecombe-Martin County EMC in the form of a $700,000 USDA Rural Economic Development Loan. The electric cooperative, based in Tarboro, applied for the interest-free loan to help the county complete this biogas generation facility. The loan will help purchase collection and generation equipment.
The county will own and operate the landfill gas collection and energy generation facility. Located at a construction and demolition landfill atop a closed municipal solid waste landfill, the plant will consist of two 370-kilowatt generators interconnected to the cooperative's distribution system. Conversion and connection are scheduled sometime this summer. Thousands of metric tons of biogas emissions generated from the landfill had been vented into the atmosphere, wasting a valuable renewable energy source. The collection and generation plant will turn a wasted energy source into an economic development tool.
The project is expected to add jobs to an economically distressed region of the state by giving the county a low-cost renewable energy source to attract new companies to locate near the facility. The excess renewable energy produced will also be offered as a resource for agricultural storage and processing, such as sweet potato dehydration and fertilizer production. A recent study states that this agricultural use alone could create close to 100 new jobs. A portion of the facility's revenues will also help finance the Edgecombe Development Fund for job creation and workforce training throughout the county.
Eddie Stocks, the co-op's vice president of member and industrial development, said, "The USDA REDLG program provided the funding avenue for Edgecombe-Martin County EMC and Edgecombe County to work together in tapping into a resource that was literally being burned off. The landfill gas collection and generation system is a viable project that will create a positive revenue stream, two permanent jobs and will fund an Economic Development and Training Fund for the next 30 years. Innovative projects such as this one are crucial in spurring progress and growth in economically stressed counties such as Edgecombe."
Other funding for the $1.7 million project included county and state energy grants.