By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal
PONTOTOC – A second project to convert landfill gas into electricity should be operating by February.
On Tuesday, officials gathered at the Three Rivers Solid Waste Authority’s landfill to mark the start of the more than $2 million project.
Methane gas emitted from the landfill will be used to run a generator to produce electricity. That electricity – up to 1 megawatt, enough to power 1,000 homes – will be sold at a premium to the Tennessee Valley Authority.
The facility is the second such project launched in the past eight months.
In December, the Golden Triangle Regional Solid Waste Authority in West Point announced it would be the site of a similar project. It is expected to begin operating Oct. 12. The facility is expected to generate nearly 1 megawatt as well.
Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley said the commission unanimously approved the Pontotoc landfill-to-electricity project last week.
“Consumers don’t have a financial risk, the public doesn’t have a financial risk, and we’re able to use a renewable source,” he said. “The plant is a win-win for everybody,” he said.
Rick Faucette, chairman of the waste authority, said the project was a “no-brainer.”
“This is off-the-shelf technology, there’s nothing experimental about it and it’s been done in other countries,” he said.
Instead of burning off landfill gas and releasing it into the atmosphere at the rate of some 600 cubic feet a minute, most of it will be captured and put to use to generate electricity.
The Pontotoc County Electric Power Association will distribute the electricity to TVA’s power grid.
Chuck Howell, PCEPA’s manager, said the utility cooperative has upgraded its lines so it can send the electricity to a TVA substation.
“It’s a good project and we’re glad we’re able to be a part of it,” he said.
The projects in Pontotoc and West Point are part of the TVA Generation Partners program, which pays 3 cents per kilowatt hour above the retail rate and fuel cost adjustments.
Faucette said the project in Pontotoc should pay for itself in about four years.
David Sparks, TVA’s energy efficiency manager in Mississippi, said TVA is working on some 30 similar projects across its footprint. He said they are part of TVA’s plan to meet its efficiency goals by using more renewable energy sources.
The Pontotoc facility will create 15 construction jobs, and when complete, one permanent job will be created to help operate and maintain it.