Ohio waste authority files suit to end clean energy contract with FirmGreen

The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) has asked the Franklin County Common Pleas Court to declare that FirmGreen Fuels of Ohio LLC committed an anticipatory breach of its landfill gas purchase contract with SWACO.

FirmGreen publicly acknowledged at SWACO’s May board of trustees; engineering, operations and compliance committee meeting that it will not timely meet its contractual commitments. This action does not affect the operation of the Green Energy Center which continues to produce Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) for vehicle fuel.

SWACO executive director Ron Mills indicated SWACO has lost all confidence that FirmGreen will complete Phase Two of the Green Energy Center by the contractually required deadline of December 10, 2010.

“FirmGreen stated in June 2009 that it would take 18 months to construct Phase Two. Just this past month, (May 2010), FirmGreen chairman and CEO, Steve Wilburn, told the SWACO committee members that Phase Two would not be completed by the contract date. He also told SWACO that equipment necessary for construction had not been ordered and that, once ordered, construction would take 12 to 14 months to complete. It is obvious that Phase Two is significantly behind schedule. We believe it is in the best interests of SWACO and the taxpayers to end this relationship with FirmGreen.”

SWACO’s contract with FirmGreen for Phase Two requires FirmGreen to purchase landfill gas from SWACO. The contract also states that FirmGreen will construct and operate the facilities needed to process the landfill gas sold to it by SWACO.

SWACO’s Green Energy Center (Phase One) cleans landfill methane to “pipeline quality” natural gas which is then compressed for use as vehicle fuel. SWACO currently operates 12 CNG vehicles and looks to add more CNG fueled cars and trucks to the fleet as older cars and trucks are retired. The Green Energy Center currently has an annual capacity of 250,000 gasoline gallon equivalents of CNG.

The Green Energy Center was named “Project of the Year” in 2009 by the EPA’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program. The Center has also received an Innovation Award from the Solid Waste Association of North America.