AUGUSTA — A proposal to spend up to $375,000 to bring three-phase power to Hatch Hill landfill, which with additional investment could allow the city to use methane produced by rotting trash at the landfill to make electricity, is up for approval by city councilors Thursday.

The proposal would use money from Hatch Hill funds and, City Manager William Bridgeo said, would not affect property taxes.

Bridgeo said three-phase electricity would be required at the site for another proposal also under consideration by the city, to build a small generating plant at Hatch Hill that would burn methane gas produced as garbage in the landfill decomposes to make electricity which then would be put into the electrical grid. The city would receive a credit for the electricity produced, which it could use to help pay its electric bills for major city and school buildings.

Building such a system could cost about $2 million, but city officials and a consultant say the city, based upon either the current or proposed new net-metering rules now under consideration by the state Public Utilities Commission, could pay for the cost of financing the equipment and save money on its electric bills.

Bridgeo told councilors last week having three-phase power at Hatch Hill would have benefits even if the city never pursues the methane-into-electricity proposal, or another proposal to install solar panels at the landfill, also to generate electricity. But neither of those things would be possible there without having three-phase power at the site.

“It’s something we think is needed there with or without an energy project,” Bridgeo said. “But when you add the possibility of generating power out there, it becomes all that more attractive.”


Lesley Jones, the city’s public works director, said she and other officials have wanted, for years, to bring three-phase power to Hatch Hill, but previously the cost was deemed too high.

She said several pieces of equipment at Hatch Hill should operate on three-phase power, such as recycling balers and leachate pumps. Without access to it, the city instead uses converters and variable frequency drives to run that equipment, but she said doing so makes it less efficient and shortens the life span of the motors.

Bob LaBreck, facilities manager for the city, said previous estimates to bring three-phase power to Hatch Hill projected it would cost about $750,000. That would be to run the power along the existing power line, which runs through the woods to Hatch Hill from Route 3, or North Belfast Avenue. LaBreck said he’s since talked to Central Maine Power Co. officials about, instead, bringing a new three-phase power line to the landfill along the entrance road to Hatch Hill, from Route 105, or South Belfast Avenue. That, he said, is expected to cost about $375,000.

Councilors are set to consider authorizing Bridgeo to sign a contract with CMP to bring three-phase power to Hatch Hill. He said the system could come online in 2018.

Councilors meet at 7 p.m. Thursday in the council chamber at Augusta City Center.

Councilors also are scheduled to:


• Consider accepting the 164-acre Howard Hill property from Kennebec Land Trust. The local land trust plans to give the property, which it bought in 2015, to the city with conditions requiring its natural resources to be protected, that it remain accessible to the public, and that it never be developed or subdivided.

• Present historic building plaques to three homeowners.

• Authorize Bridgeo to spend up to $20,000, to be reallocated from a fund set aside for capital improvements at Alumni Field at Cony High School, to purchase a new pole-vault system for the Alumni Field Complex, because, officials said, the previous one was deemed unsafe.

• Consider approving of the transfer of $1,138 seized in a criminal case to the Police Department.

• Consider rescinding a moratorium, enacted by councilors last August, that temporarily banned the issuance of building permits and Planning Board consideration of any new proposals for group and boarding homes in some city zoning districts.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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