LAW helps bring green energy to Wilmington

February 2013: Land Air Water Legal Solutions LLC (LAW) helped lay the groundwork for an innovative green energy project that began construction in Wilmington, Delaware, at the end of last year.

“We were pleased to serve as special counsel to the City of Wilmington, helping the city negotiate the purchase of landfill gas that eventually will power the city’s Hay Road Wastewater Treatment Plant,” LAW attorney Mark C. Hammond said.

The city broke ground in December on a “Renewable Energy Biosolids Facility” that will use landfill gas—along with digester gas from the city’s wastewater treatment plant itself—to generate electricity and produce process heat.

  • The gas-generated electricity will be used to run the treatment plant at a significant cost savings. Burning the gas is expected to generate 4.4 megawatts of electricity, enough to fully satisfy the treatment plant’s electrical requirements.
  • Heat produced from the project will be used to both augment the wastewater treatment plant’s digesters as well as drying the treated sewage sludge, thereby reducing sludge volume by an estimated 75 percent and slashing disposal costs.

“In a way, this was the perfect assignment for us,” Hammond explained. “It was a challenging blend of legal and technical issues, which is exactly the type of project we are both very adept at and greatly enjoy. We employed not only our legal knowledge and experience with environmental matters, but also our technical background in engineering.” Like most of LAW’s attorneys, Hammond has a bachelor of science undergraduate degree (mechanical engineering) and real-world experience as a consultant, in addition to his law degree.

LAW helped Wilmington negotiate with Cummins Power Generation, which owns the rights to the gas produced by the Delaware Solid Waste Authority’s Cherry Island Landfill. LAW also helped negotiate an easement for siting the gas-processing equipment at the Renewable Energy Biosolids Facility. This processing facility, part of an effort by Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker to promote green energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is scheduled to be finished in early 2014.

“Business savvy, legal knowhow, and exceptional service are at the core of the services we provide,” Hammond said, “but we also use the diversity of our broad experience and technical backgrounds—as a firm and as individual lawyers—in order to give our clients the fullest benefit possible.”

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