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Background

Mayor Hamilton first made mention of forming a potential task force to consider the feasibility of a renewable energy initiative at his 2019 State of the City address. The idea sprang forth from the want to do our part to limit global climate change, while at the same time increasing our own energy sustainability and self-reliance. On Earth Day, April 22, 2019, Mayor Hamilton announced the formation of the Waste and Energy Task Force, convened to evaluate the technical issues and feasibility of such a project.

The system under consideration would involve the addition of an anaerobic digestion process at the Dillman wastewater plant, Bloomington's largest such facility, which could accept compostable waste and convert it into compressed natural gas, which would not only keep waste out of the landfill, but keep the compostable organic matter from releasing methane--a greenhouse gas--into the atmosphere.  Having performed those great preventive goals, this process could also net us a very useful by-product: compressed natural gas (or CNG).  A fuel source that is not only renewable but substantially cleaner than diesel, CNG could ostensibly power our municipal fleet-- from Bloomington Transit buses to sanitation trucks and snow plows.  

During the first phase of their inquiry, the Waste and Energy Task Force will research the technical considerations involved in the adoption of this renewable energy system, investigate best practices of comparable systems in other cities, and map a cost analysis of this overhaul.  In late summer/early fall 2019, the task force will make recommendations and widen the group to include other experts and stakeholders for the second phase. All reports will be made public, and the public will be invited to comment on the task force findings.  

 

Waste and Energy Task Force Members

  • Gwen White, Chair, Bloomington Council on Sustainability
  • Nancy Obermeyer, Board Chair, Bloomington Transit
  • Brian Noojin, Campus Bus Manager, Indiana University
  • Keith Thompson, Director of Energy and Utilities, Indiana University
  • Dave Rollo, President, City Council
  • Tom McGlasson, Director, Monroe County Solid Waste District
  • Vic Kelson, Utilities Director, City of Bloomington
  • Adam Wason, Public Works Director, City of Bloomington
  • Lew May, Executive Director, Bloomington Transit