(#252) — The Sullivan County Landfill and adjacent land provides a one-time-only opportunity to save tax dollars and generate revenue. Let’s look at just a brief outline of what a Sullivan County Power Authority located at this site can accomplish even with low natural gas prices and artificially (and temporary) low electricity costs which makes any new power generation very challenging.
Our first advantage is the radical fall in the installed cost of solar electric technology. At the mulit-megawatt level, the most efficient solar electric panels can be installed at under $3,000/kw. That is 50% less than a year ago. These panels can be installed in phases, so we can start with whatever megawatt level is required to meet existing electricity needs such as providing electricity and HVAC to the newly commissioned MRF-Material Recycling Facility, etc. and expanded many fold as new developments at the East Broadway site come on line. Cheap, clean renewable energy could assist the development and marketing of retail and agricultural proposals currently being explored. The panels would cover the closed landfill without disturbing the landfill cap in anyway. It can be designed to make a very aesthetic presentation and serve as a draw to commercial activity.
The second advantage is the availability of extremely low municipal bonding and the existence of solar municipal bonding models that yield economic returns not even imagined a year ago. Some might argue for a lease agreement with a major solar developer who would own the technology and pay a set price for the energy generated. This is obsolete thinking. Control of the land and the technology is absolutely essential to realize the tremendous potential of a County Owned Power Authority. Coupled with the radical drop in solar panels, this is the time to invest in the future prosperity of our economy and the viability of municipal government.
A third advantage is the advent of electric cars and the popularity of hybrid (gas/electric) cars and vehicles. Sullivan County could have an electric depot for charging cars and learn from a pilot project how it can begin to deploy this coming revolution in transportation throughout the county for municipal, commercial and residential use. Close to 50% of pollution comes from transportation.
A second component of the POWER AUTHORITY would be a bio-mass complex. Fueled by the huge available tonnage of wood, hay, other fiber, paper, restaurant, grocery and farm waste, systems that produce electricity, natural gas, methane, compost, and pellets can provide several streams of revenue. A natural gas truck depot would provide a preferred bridging fuel, revenue to municipal coffers and mitigate to some degree the current trucking in of natural gas and widespread use of more polluting fuels. It would provide revenue to farmers, large land owners and use recurring natural resources now left to just decay and emit methane and other green house gases. Pellets from wood and grass would provide revenue streams for farms, publicly owned land and could inaugurate a shift from fossil fuels in all of our schools, other public buildings as well as many civic and commercial buildings.
Thousands of jobs that last, tax savings, millions in new revenue for public and private enterprise, and a safer environment at a cheaper cost are to be found here.