THE sale of electricity generated by gas from the Tramore Valley Park has generated more than €500,000 in just three years.
The money is being used to pay off the capital costs associated with developing the electricity-generating infrastructure, according to Cork City Council.
The total expenditure on the infrastructure and processing of the gas-to-electricity project to date is approximately €610,000, with €565,000 recouped through the sale of electricity in the last 'three to four years', according to officials at the city's environment directorate.
It is expected that the project will only continue for another 3-5 years, with 'the quantity and quality of the gasses at the site already falling', according to city officials.
While this is 'normal and natural', according to staff, it means that the annual income associated with the project will decrease year-on-year.
"It will thus become uneconomical (and ultimately not technically feasible due to the quality and quantity of gas) to continue to produce electricity at this site," a report issued to elected members noted.
Due to its location on the site of a landfill, the park is still subject to an EPA licence and will be for some time to come.
According to city officials, one of the conditions of the EPA licence is the need to 'process the gas being produced by the degradation of the landfill matter under the capping material.'
A decision was taken to use the gas to generate electricity rather than simply burning it into the atmosphere.
A report issued to elected members said, "Procurement processes were undertaken which involved the hiring of a suitable 'engine' and the sale of the electricity generated. These contracts covered the initiation of the electricity-generation process, management of the process and provision of planned preventative maintenance (PPM) on the system (engine, pumps, pipelines, SCADA, etc) as well as the purchase of the electricity from the City Council."
The local authority has been praised for its forward-thinking with regard to the former dump, with Independent councillor Kieran McCarthy describing it as 'a super example of sustainable land use.'
The park, which is located on the site of the former Kinsale Road city landfill site, has undergone a €40 million redevelopment in recent years.
It looks set to finally be up-and-running in 2018 after Cork City Council allocated €70,000 for the day-to-day running of the facility.
While the park currently hosts a number of events on its pitches and BMX tracks, it is not open to the general public.