Photo by John Schreiber. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Photo by John Schreiber. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Mayor Eric Garcetti Tuesday helped mark the start of construction on a biogas-fueled cogeneration plant that will supply 100 percent of the steam and electricity produced to power the city-owned Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant.

Garcetti called the project, which is slated for completion by the end of 2016, “a smart investment in Los Angeles’ sustainable future.”

The cogeneration plant is expected to generate more than 173 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year and supply up to 70,000 pounds per hour of steam, using the methane captured through Hyperion’s sewage treatment process as its fuel source.

“At LA Sanitation, we are committed to protecting public health and our environment,” said LA Sanitation Director Enrique C. Zaldivar.

“Keeping our commitment means continually improving and finding innovative new ways to meet the sustainability goals that Mayor Garcetti has set for the entire city,” he said. “Today’s groundbreaking brings us closer to fulfilling our pledge to the people of Los Angeles.”

LA Sanitation selected Constellation as the project developer after a competitive bidding process. Constellation and its affiliate Exelon Generation will develop, construct and operate the cogeneration facility for 20 years, with an option to extend the agreement for two additional five-year terms.

“Biogas-fueled cogeneration offers wastewater treatment facilities a cost-efficient, sustainable, and resilient energy source that is highly effective at reducing methane and carbon dioxide emissions,” said Gary Fromer, Constellation’s senior vice president, distributed energy.

By using biogas fuel to generate electricity instead of brown power sources, the Hyperion cogeneration plant is expected to avoid the release of about 100,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, or the equivalent emissions from more than 21,000 passenger vehicles annually, according to LA Sanitation.

In the event of an electric grid outage, the cogeneration plant has the ability to maintain operations at the wastewater treatment site.

— Wire reports 

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