ATLANTA, Ga., Nov. 19, 2001 — A number of Georgia consumers will soon be the first to purchase “green” electricity through a new energy cooperative formed by 13 of the state’s Electric Membership Corporations.
United States Representative Mac Collins joined with the Georgia EMCs today at Southface Energy Institute in Atlanta to announce the formation of a new electric cooperative, Green Power EMC.
“Tapping into renewable energy sources like landfill gas represents a perfect solution for consumers, environmental advocates and Georgia’s electric co-ops,” said Collins. “Utilizing green power helps preserve our natural resources, not only for ourselves, but for future generations. The new Green Power EMC provides greater flexibility and choice for consumers.”
Green Power EMC will contract for electricity generated by renewable resources, like biomass, solar and wind energy. The green electricity will be distributed by the participating EMCs to the electric system that supports the consumer’s home or business.
The first Green Power EMC projects utilize biomass energy from four North and Middle Georgia landfills. The otherwise wasted methane contained in landfill gas is valuable for electricity production; power produced from waste methane can offset electricity needs produced by traditional means, including coal.
In use since the late 1970s, this method of producing biomass electricity is regarded as one of the most mature and successful in the green power field. The methane gas results from the natural breakdown of landfill wastes. The gas is then sold to the gas-to-energy plants to fuel electric generators.
Consumers will have the opportunity to purchase 150 kilowatt-hour blocks of green power from their local EMC. “Although these sources are free in their raw form, the technology to capture the energy they produce is more expensive than with traditional fuels,” said Green Power EMC President Michael Whiteside. “The majority of EMC members surveyed are aware of this and are willing to pay a bit more for power produced this way.”
A kilowatt-hour is the standard measurement of electric power; one kilowatt-hour will run a 100 watt bulb for ten hours.
The landfill generating sites, expected to produce over $60 million of electricity over the next 15 years, are being built, owned and operated by Energy Developments, Incorporated, an international company experienced in clean energy production. EDI will collect and deliver landfill gas to the generation facilities and produce the electricity. Green Power EMC will purchase the entire 13 megawatt output of the facilities, enough electricity to power 8,000 homes.
The first site at Richland Creek Road Landfill in Gwinnett County is expected to be operational next fall. Green Power EMC projects that wind, solar and hydroelectric energy sources will be added to its generating capacity by 2003.
The member cooperatives of Green Power EMC are Carroll EMC of Carrollton, Coweta-Fayette EMC of Newnan, Flint Energies of Reynolds, GreyStone Power of Douglasville, Habersham EMC of Clarkesville, Irwin EMC of Ocilla, Jackson EMC of Jefferson, Lamar EMC of Barnesville, Ocmulgee EMC of Eastman, Sawnee EMC of Cumming, Snapping Shoals EMC of Covington, Tri-County EMC of Gray and Walton EMC of Monroe.
EMCs are consumer-owned utilities that provide energy and other value-added services to their members at cost. The 13 Green Power EMC members represent over 630,000 Georgia homes, businesses, factories and farms.