Waste Management announces $400 million methane-to-energy plan

Renewable energy got a boost this week: mega-hauler Waste Management said it will spend $400 million over five years to build 60 landfill-based facilities that will convert methane to electricity. The potent gas — which results from the decomposition of organic yummies like trash and cow manure — is the second-leading human-made contributor to climate change after carbon dioxide, and landfills account for 34 percent of methane emissions in the U.S. Waste Management already operates about 100 methane-energy facilities at its 281 North American landfills; in Saint-Sophie, Quebec, for instance, such an operation fills 75 percent of a local paper mill’s energy needs. The new plants will bring WM’s generating capacity to 700 megawatts, enough to power about 700,000 homes. By selling power to utilities or other users, the company stands to make a good, clean buck: Paul Pabor, WM’s renewable-energy veep, said the project “represents incremental revenue.” Which is better than a pile of cow shit.