The Municipality of the District of Digby wants to turn your table scraps into electricity.
The municipal council has approved a contract with Southwest Eco Energy in Weaver Settlement to accept the contents of the green bins from the municipality.
Under the agreement, that has been approved but not yet signed, the municipality will pay Southwest Eco Energy $80 plus HST per metric ton delivered to Weaver Settlement.
Southwest Eco Energy is hooking up an aerobic digester there, which will extract methane gas from, for the most part, mink manure.
The digester has a capacity of over 11,000 metric tons of waste per year; the municipality is currently trucking about 300 metric tons of green bin material a year to Yarmouth to be composted.
The municipality pays $90 to have the material composted in Yarmouth, not to mention Yarmouth is twice as far away.
The agreement is set to last 20 years, but the parties will carry out a price review every five years. If they can’t agree on a new price structure, the contract can terminate with no penalty to either party.
Either party can end the agreement at anytime with one year’s notice.
If Southwest Eco Energy is, for any reason, unable to process the waste, the contract says they will have to make arrangements to accept the waste for the duration of the contract.
Southwest Eco Energy’s dome-shaped facility will heat and stir the waste and allow special bacteria to break down the organic matter.
Southwest Eco Energy will collect the resulting methane gas and sell it to the municipality.
The municipality has installed a 300-kilowatt generator on the site to burn the methane gas and produce electricity.
The Department of Energy approved the municipality for the Community Feed-In Tariff (COMFIT) program last March, meaning the municipality will be able to sell the electricity it produces to Nova Scotia Power at a special, higher than normal, rate.
The COMFIT program is meant to encourage innovation and investment in renewable energies like wind, tidal or anaerobic digesters.
The municipality is actually is approved for 600-kilowatts, in case Southwest Eco Energy decides to expand and build a second digester.
The municipality and Nova Scotia Power are still working to hook up the generator—Terry Thidodeau, the municipality’s renewable energy coordinator says the project is scheduled to be all hooked up by September but it could be completed earlier in the summer.
Thibodeau says, now that the municipality has hammered out an agreement with Southwest Eco Energy, other municipalities may look at trucking their green bin material to Weaver Settlement too.
Digby’s mayor Ben Cleveland says the town council has agreed in principle to send their waste that way but will now have to officially look at the agreement.