Phoenix is turning gas into cash

Renewable energy is a hot commodity. It's not only good for the environment, but it also generates revenue and jobs for many cities around the United States, now including the valley.

The City of Phoenix will soon be turning what we flush down the toilet each day into renewable energy, known as bio-gas.

Going green while generating green happens at Phoenix's Wastewater Treatment Plant in the west valley. The stinky methane gas that fills the air will soon be put to good use.

"We actually expel that methane gas through these flares, and we burn it off as a waste bi-product that is unused at this point," said Dennis Porter.

But that's about to change. Instead of letting the gas go to waste, the water services department will soon begin selling it as renewable bio-gas.

"They'll capture that, they'll clean it, they'll scrub it, they'll pressurize it, and put it in a Kinder Morgan Pipeline to be able to sell it on the market," said Porter

A market that is hotter than it has ever been. With renewable energy production nearly doubling in the past decade, Phoenix is poised to capitalize on it in a big way.

"So we'll be generating anywhere from $600,000 to $1.2 million a year," he said.

Once the plant is completed, officials expect to burn about 600,000 cubic feet of gas a year.

"In terms of gas that's a lot, we could probably generate enough energy for 6,000 homes," said Porter.

In a couple of years, Phoenix predicts 15% of it's energy will come from renewable sources. The wastewater plant recycles almost everything it produces. It includes reclaimed water used for everything from fertilizer to cooling the nuclear generators out at Palo Verde.