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SPECIAL COVERAGE: Living With Wildfires: San Diego Firestorm 10 Years Later

Trash Will Power MCAS Miramar

Audio

San Diego’s trash will soon become a source of power for Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

— When trash gets buried in a landfill it eventually begins emitting methane gas. Miramar landfill already has a power plant on site that turns that gas into electricity used by the city of San Diego. Now a second power plant is being built that will supply half of the electricity needed to power MCAS Miramar.

Photo by Katie Orr

Bulldozers push around piles of trash at San Diego's Miramar Landfill.

Col. Frank Richie is Miramar’s commanding officer. He said right now the Marines are too dependent on traditional energy sources.

“We are tied to fossil fuel,” he said. “In Afghanistan the Marine Corp uses 200,000 gallons of fossil fuel every day. Every day.”

Base officials said MCAS Miramar spends about $8 million a year on electricity. This project won’t lower costs initially, but will keep them stable as traditional power costs are expected to rise.

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders said this latest deal is good for the city environmentally and economically.

“We’ll save about $2 million by not having to dig those wells ourselves and bleed that methane off up into the air,” he said.

The city will receive about $200,000 a year in revenue from the project.

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