It’s the first renewable energy generation facility owned and operated by Gulf Power, and the first by its parent Southern Company. The energy capacity can be expanded as landfill methane gas production expands in the future.
The partnership between Gulf Power and Escambia County was launched officially in February, when Gulf Power broke ground on its $5.3-million facility. Gulf Power has a contract with Escambia County for the purchase of landfill gas and with LFG Technologies Development to build and operate the landfill gas-to-energy facility.
Educational tours soon will be available for school groups and the community.
“The project showcases how Gulf Power can partner with Escambia County and other communities to produce affordable renewable energy while providing tremendous benefits for our community and the environment,” said Sandy Sims, manager of Gulf Power Public Affairs. “We will produce renewable electricity that will benefit Gulf Power customers and create revenue for Escambia County. And it gives us an opportunity to teach schoolchildren about renewable energy.”
Landfill methane gas is one of the most cost-effective forms of renewable energy, forming naturally by bacterial decomposition of organic material in landfills.
Municipal solid waste landfills are the second largest human-generated source of methane emissions in the United States and methane is one of the most potent forms of greenhouse gases — 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Escambia County has a collection system in place and pipes the gas to the facility, where it is processed for use by the specially designed Caterpillar 1,600-kilowatt landfill gas generators. Water separated from the landfill gas will be re-used by the Landfill for its leachate system.
While this is the first such facility in Southern Company, Gulf Power has launched numerous partnerships that benefit communities and the environment:
Gulf Power/Emerald Coast Utilities Authority — Less than a year after the scrubber started reducing emissions by more than 90 percent at Plant Crist, the plant will begin using millions of gallons of reclaimed water from the new ECUA Water Reclamation Facility. The water will be used by the scrubber system and for cooling operations at the plant. This partnership, which helps establish the ECUA plant as a zero-discharge facility to replace the Main Street Wastewater Plant, won a Sustainable Florida Best Practices award.
Gulf Power/Santa Rosa County — Gulf Power partnered with Santa Rosa County to install a meteorological tower on Navarre Beach to test the viability of wind energy. The partnership also provides renewable energy education for Navarre High School.
For more information on renewable energy and ways to save energy and money, visit www.gulfpower.com.
Gulf Power Company is an investor-owned electric utility that serves more than 428,000 customers in 10 counties throughout Northwest Florida. The company’s mission is to safely deliver affordable, reliable and environmentally responsible energy to very satisfied customers in strong communities.