Duke to buy landfill gas for electricity

Duke Energy said this morning it will buy two megawatts of electricity produced by methane gas captured from Durham's old city landfill.

The agreement is with Methane Power Inc. Gas from the landfill, which closed in the mid-1990s, will be turned into electricity beginning in 2009.

Landfills create gas, mostly methane, as buried organic material decomposes. Methane is a greenhouse gas linked to climate change. Gas at the Durham landfill is now burned off, but Methane Power will install engines and generators to turn it into electricity.

Two megawatts is enough power to serve about 1,600 homes.

State law says energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, including landfill gas, have to account for 12.5 percent of N.C. utilities' electricity sales by 2021. Earlier this year, Duke said it will buy the 16-megawatt output of the nation's largest solar farm, to be built in Davidson County, north of Charlotte.