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New 'green' generator to be built at landfill

 

Ryan Poe

 

The Golden Triangle Regional Solid Waste Management Authority plans to build the largest "green" generator in the area in the coming year. 

 

The Solid Waste Authority will receive bids to build the 999-kilowatt generator Friday, a week after receiving the go-ahead from the Tennessee Valley Authority. The generator is expected to be completed by Aug. 1. 

 

TVA, through its Generation Partners program, will purchase the "green" electricity at a rate of 3 cents per kilowatt-hour above the retail rate and fuel cost adjustments. 

 

The 10-year contract also guarantees incentives of $1,000, among other benefits. 

 

The generator should pay for itself in less than five years, said GTR Authority Executive Director Jimmy Sloan. 

 

"This project involves a significant investment for the Authority but likewise has the potential to provide a significant return," Sloan said in a statement Monday. 

 

The 16-cylinder generator, which burns methane gas to power its engine and generate electricity, will be built on the GTR landfill in Clay County, Sloan said. 

 

The project could create a job for a generator technician, he added. 

 

About 50 percent of the landfill is composed of methane, which has to be sucked from the ground through wells with vacuums, he continued. Once the methane is harvested, machines remove the moisture from the gas and compress it for use in the generator. 

 

The authority built 12 wells in 2009 but plans to build more than 100 over the next several years, Sloan said. 

 

All on-site work will be done by Solid Waste Authority crews to save on costs, he said. 

 

Although the new generator will not decrease utility rates, it could curtail landfill user fee increases, he added. 

 

The generator will plug into the 4-County Electric Power Association system, which is the electricity provider at the landfill. 

 

"All revenue streams assist in our efforts to maintain a low tipping fee for disposal of solid waste, and have a direct impact on the costs borne by the businesses, industries and citizens of the six-county Golden Triangle region," he said. 

 

The project, which has been in the planning stages for months, may be one of the largest in the state, said 4-County spokesman Jon Turner. 

 

"It''s hopefully a sign of things to come," he added. 

 

Utility companies are at a "crossroads right now," said new 4-County CEO and General Manager Joe Cade in a statement Monday. 

 

"(The electric power industry) is trying to find ways to reduce carbon emissions while continuing to provide enough electricity to meet growing demand," he continued. 

 

TVA''s Generation Partners program already has 201 members, according to its website.

 

 

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