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Gulf Power Paving The Way To Purchase Wind-Generated Electricity

Photo via Flickr// SaltGeorge

Gulf Power Company is asking the Florida Public Service Commission to green-light an agreement, which would make the utility a major purchaser of wind-generated electricity. If approved, the deal would be the first of its kind in Florida.

The project involves 89 wind turbines, and could supply 180 megawatts: that’s enough energy to power about 50,000 homes per year.

Kingfisher Wind would represent roughly 5% of Gulf Power’s projected energy mix. Wind power helps diversify an electric company’s power supply. Essentially, says Gulf Power spokesman Jeff Rogers, not putting all their generating eggs into one basket.

“For Southern Company and subsidiaries like Gulf Power, we try to generate from a variety of different fuels,” said Rogers. “Natural gas, clean coal. The Southern Company also has nuclear (and) hydro. And what that does is helps insulate our customers from fluctuating prices.”

This is Gulf Power’s fifth renewable energy project. The Perdido Landfill Gas-to-Energy Facility has produced more than 100 million kilowatt hours of electricity since 2010.

Last month, the utility announced that it would partner with the U.S. Navy and Air Force, to build solar energy farms at Eglin AFB, Holley Field in Navarre, and Saufley Field in Pensacola, to generate a total of 120 megawatts of power. Construction is scheduled to begin in February 2016, if approved by the PSC.

Rogers says they expect to hear soon from the PSC on those plans.

“They’re really great to work with, and it shouldn’t be long before we hear from them,” Rogers said. “Their criteria is, is it good for our customers? Is it cost effective? I think we’re meeting those tests.”

And while they await word, the prep work on all projects continues. With approval from the Florida PSC, the projected Kingfisher Wind could be up and running by next December 31.