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Startup costs for the new digester gas project at Hamilton, Ontario's Woodward Avenue wastewater treatment plant are approximately $276,000 ($245,000 U.S.), but it is expected to draw in $1 million ($892,000 U.S.) annually once operational. Photo: City of Hamilton

One Canadian city is harnessing its current resources to create a new source of energy and revenue.

The city of Hamilton, Ontario, is installing a 1.6-MW digester gas project at its Woodward Avenue wastewater treatment plant. The $4.4 million ($3.9 million U.S.) project will use methane gas—a byproduct of the wasterwater treatment process—to generate electricity. The power will then be sold to the province under a 20-year contract. City officials estimate that once the digester is fully operational, it will pull in approximately $1 million ($892,000 U.S.) in revenues annually.

In addition to the electrical output, the facility will create thermal energy in the form of hot water, which will be distributed back to the water and wastewater treatment facilities, then used for space heating and digester operation.

In 2004, the city created Hamilton Renewable Power Inc., a corporation that will oversee operation of the 1.6-MWdigester; using the newly created company to run the digester will help the city avoid paying taxes.