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Escambia County approves Gulf Power’s renewable energy project


More renewable energy will be produced in Northwest Florida soon. Gulf Power’s agreement to build a facility to convert landfill gas to energy at the Perdido Landfill has been approved by the Escambia County Commission.

Initially, landfill gas generators will produce 3,200 kilowatts of renewable energy — enough to power about 1,500 homes. The energy capacity can be increased as the landfill produces more methane in the future.

“This partnership with Escambia County will produce tremendous benefits for our community,” said Sandy Sims, manager of Gulf Power Public Affairs. “The process will eliminate a source of greenhouse gas by capturing and using the methane that is already escaping into the atmosphere. And this project will bring more clean energy to Northwest Florida.”

Gulf Power has a contract with Escambia County for the purchase of landfill gas and with LFG Technologies Development to design, build and operate the Landfill Gas to Energy facility at the Perdido Landfill.

The purchase is subject to approval of a land lease for the facility, permitting by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and approval by the Florida Public Service Commission.

Once approved by the FPSC, the facility will take about six months to build and is tentatively scheduled to go into commercial operation on May 31, 2010.

Landfill methane gas is one of the most cost-effective forms of renewable energy. 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.

“This project shows Gulf Power’s commitment to pursue affordable renewable energy options and promote energy conservation projects while continuing to reduce emissions,” Sims said. “We’re pursuing a more diverse mix of fuel sources to benefit our customers.”

Other Gulf Power Environmental projects include:

* EarthCents, a menu of programs and educational efforts to help its residential and commercial customers save money and energy.

* In October, 2008, Gulf Power signed an agreement with Bay County and is purchasing 11 megawatts of renewable energy generated by its municipal solid waste incinerator.

* Gulf Power is completing construction of the Plant Crist scrubber system, which is scheduled to go into operation in December. It is designed to reduce emissions by as much as 95 percent. As part of the project, Gulf Power entered into an agreement with ECUA to use reclaimed water from their water treatment facility currently under construction. Once complete, the project will establish the new treatment plant as a zero-discharge facility and reduce the amount of water Gulf Power takes from Escambia River by 12-14 million gallons per day.

* Santa Rosa County recently approved Gulf Power’s construction of a meteorological tower on Navarre Beach to study the potential of wind energy.

Gulf Power Company is an investor-owned electric utility with all of its common stock owned by Atlanta-based Southern Company. The company is a tax-paying utility with rates well below the national average. Gulf Power serves more than 400,000 customers in 10 counties throughout Northwest Florida. Our mission is to safely deliver affordable, reliable and environmentally responsible energy to very satisfied customers in strong communities.


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