Last updated: March 12. 2014 10:37AM - 1152 Views
By - dvanderford@civitasmedia.com

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UNION COUNTY — Lockhart Power and Pacolet Milliken have announced plans for a landfill gas-to-power renewable energy facility in Union County.

During Tuesday’s meeting of the Union County Council, Lockhart Power Chief Operating Officer Bryan Stone announced that Lockhart Power Company and Pacolet Milliken Enterprises, Inc. plan to develop, own and operate a landfill gas-to-power renewable energy facility at the Republic Services, Inc. Upstate Regional Landfill, located near Cross Anchor in Union County.

The project was first announced in January when council approved an inducement resolution with a Delaware company identified at the time Project Midas.

“Before it was publicly announced, the project was referred to as Project Midas because it turns trash into figurative gold,” Stone said.

Stone explained that as material in landfills decompose, the process makes methane gas, a greenhouse gas 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide. This project will use methane captured from the landfill as fuel to make electricity. Lockhart Power Company has formed a wholly owned subsidiary called Lockhart BioEnergy, LLC to develop and own the facility. The project will consist of two reciprocating combustion engines, each of which will power a 1,600 kilowatt generator. The facility will be connected to the electrical grid, and its output will initially be purchased by Duke Energy.

Stone said there is enough gas at the facility to run both generators at the same time — day and night, year round — with excess gas left over. Stone explained that Lockhart Power is currently supplying all of its demand without the new facility by using a variety of sources. Once in place, the landfill gas-to-power facility will produce 3,200 kilowatts of power — supplying enough power for around 2,000 homes — that won’t have to be brought in from other areas.

Stone also mentioned this form of energy is the most cost effective, which will mean controlling costs over time and an eventual economic benefit to cutomers.

“We have proven with our Wellford renewable energy project that this type of generation is not only feasible but effective and economical,” Stone said. “This project represents the sixth renewable energy facility we have developed or purchased during the last several years, and materially supports our corporate environmental sustainability mission by continuing to allow Lockhart Power to generate more than 99 percent of its power from renewable energy resources.”

Lockhart Power currently owns and operates a similar facility in Wellford through a partnership with Spartanburg County. That project, which began in 2011, transports a portion of the landfill gas by pipeline for use in Milliken & Company’s Dewey Plant in Inman, and uses the remaining landfill gas on site for power generation. Stone said the power production of such a facility is a very reliable renewable energy source.

Union County Supervisor Tommy Sinclair pointed out that Lockhart Power has been a good neighbor to Union County in numerous ways, more than he could name.

“I’m glad you’re part of this community,” Sinclair told Stone.

“This project is another example of our efforts to become a leader in implementing green power alternatives,” said Richard Webel, President of Pacolet Milliken, the parent company of Lockhart Power. “By capturing and beneficially utilizing landfill gas, we will reduce air pollution and tap into an otherwise wasted source of usable energy.”

Pacolet Milliken Vice President of Energy Ralph Walker, Sr. said the new facility will be a substantial addition to the corporation’s energy division under Lockhart Power.

“Using landfill gas generation to generate power while avoiding the need to use pollution-creating fossil fuels to generate that power is a win-win proposition for our community,” Walker said.

The air permitting process for the Union County Landfill Energy facility should be completed by May 2014, allowing construction to begin in June.

Standard Textiles

In other business, council also voted unanimously to approve third and final reading of an ordinance including the expansion of the local Standard Textile facility in a multi-county industrial park agreement with Spartanburg County. The park, which will be located in Union County, would make Standard Textile eligible for job tax credits available to companies and industries that locate in a multi-county industrial park.

The inclusion of the expansion in the multi-county industrial park also makes Standard Textile eligible for a fee-in-lieu of taxes agreement with the county which would enable the company to pay a lower property tax rate on its expansion. Under the agreement, Union County, as the location of the industrial park, will get 99 percent of the revenue generated by the expansion while Spartanburg County will receive one percent.

Inclusion in the park also makes Standard Textile eligible for infrastructure credits which would help cover the cost of any infrastructure improvements that would serve the county.

Standard Textile announced in July that it was planning to invest $2.5 million in the expansion of its manufacturing facility at 100 Highpoint Drive. The goal of the project, which was expected to be completed this year, was the expansion, consolidation and incorporation of new innovations in terry towel finishing in Standard Textile’s U.S. terry towel manufacturing operations. The company manufactures textiles for customers in the health care, hospitality, decorative products and industrial laundry markets.

The expansion is expected to create 15 jobs.

Look for much more information from Tuesday’s meeting of the Union County Council — regarding the proposition of a major hunting event in Union County, the status of Spartanburg Community College’s presence in Union County, a housing consortium for the Catawba Region and more — in upcoming editions of The Union Daily Times and at www.uniondailytimes.com.

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