Biofuels facility set in Golden Triangle area

Published 3:24 pm Friday, September 30, 2011

Gov. Haley Barbour is scheduled to tour the Golden Triangle Regional Landfill on Thursday where local officials will be building an operation to capture methane gas to produce electricity.

GE Energy, which is installing the engines to run the facility, says a ceremonial ribbon cutting for the facility has been tentatively scheduled for Oct. 11.

The Golden Triangle facility — which serves the Columbus, Starkville and West point areas — was the first one to be approved by the Mississippi Public Service Commission. That approval came last December.

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The Tennessee Valley Authority will buy the power generated from the Golden Triangle facility through the 4 County Electric Power Association distribution system.

Golden Triangle Regional Solid Waste Management Authority officials said converted methane gas will be used as fuel for a 1 megawatt facility to generate electricity.

Officials expect the plant to be running by the end of the month.

The solid waste authority serves Clay, Lowndes, Oktibbeha, Choctaw, Noxubee and Webster counties. The landfill is located on the line between Clay and Oktibbeha counties.

The PSC in August approved a second project in Pontotoc County. The Three Rivers Solid Waste Authority will sell the power generated to the Tennessee Valley Authority through Pontotoc County Electric Power Association’s distribution system. Currently, the landfill-gas is flared and released into the atmosphere.

Landfills produce methane and carbon dioxide naturally as some types of waste decompose.

Pecan Grove landfill gas-to-energy project became Mississippi’s first operational project in 2005, according to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, through the state’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program. The gas from Pecan Grove Landfill located near Pass Christian is captured and treated at the landfill property and then piped to a DuPont facility located near DeLisle.

A similar operation was permitted in Houston, Miss., in Chickasaw County in 2009, also in cooperation with the TVA.

The Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that 11 other landfills are potential sites for the biofuel operations.

“Anytime we can use untapped resources, that would otherwise be wasted, and turn them into energy we ought to be doing it,” said Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley said in a statement.

In Pearl River County, come local officials have suggested that the county could capture methane gas from a landfill in the Millard community south of Poplarville to produce electricity.