Southern Company solar farms at military bases are not just for Georgia anymore; SO subsidiary Gulf Power is building more and bigger ones in Florida.
Gulf Power, Solar Energy Farms,
Gulf Power is partnering with the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force to build solar energy farms at three different facilities across Northwest Florida. The projects could be in service as early as December 2016.
“This is an important collaboration between Gulf Power, the Navy and the Air Force,” said Stan Connally, Gulf Power president and CEO. “As military installations seek solutions to promote renewable energy generation, we have worked alongside our military customers to help provide cost-effective solutions — and all our customers will reap the benefit.”
HelioSage and Gulf Power, PRNewsWire, 22 January 2015, HelioSage & Gulf Power Announce 120 Megawatts of Solar in Florida: Landmark projects will span three sites through partnership with Navy and Air Force,
Following approval by the Florida Public Service Commission, HelioSage will develop, finance, and operate the solar projects. The power generated by the facilities will then be sold to Gulf Power under a long-term Energy Purchase Agreement. Collectively, the solar facilities will produce enough energy to power over 18,000 homes each year.
“HelioSage is honored and excited to be partnering with Gulf Power, the Air Force, and the Navy on these landmark projects, which will bring renewable energy to Northwest Florida at rates competitive with traditional energy sources,” said Chris Quarterman, Vice President of Strategy for HelioSage.
“These projects serve as another example that large-scale solar has become a cost-effective, proven technology, and one that will play a major role in the energy future of not only the Sunshine State, but the nation. We congratulate Gulf Power and the Military for their leadership and vision, and look forward to working together on this collaborative effort.”
And the Florida PSC didn’t take long. studeri.org, 16 April 2015, Regulators approve Gulf Power solar plan,
The Florida Public Service Commission on Thursday approved a plan that would lead to Gulf Power Co. buying electricity from major new solar facilities at Northwest Florida military bases….
“We support this important partnership between Gulf Power and the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy that will play a major role in Florida’s energy future,” Public Service Commission Chairman Art Graham said in a prepared statement Thursday.
“The solar facilities will diversify the utility’s power supply and increase Florida’s emissions-free electricity generation.”
OK, where? Back to the press release:
The solar facilities will be constructed at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach (30 MW), Holley Naval Outlying Landing Field in Navarre (40 MW), and Saufley Naval Outlying Landing Field in Pensacola (50 MW). Construction is slated to begin early next year, with the projects reaching commercial operation by the fourth quarter of 2016.
All the military solar projects in Georgia are 30 MW or smaller, so two of these Florida projects are larger.
The base commanders like these projects because they help meet DoD requirements for renewable energy.
Pensacola NewsJournal, 22 January 2015, Gulf Power, military bringing large-scale solar power,
Capt. Keith Hoskins, commanding officer of NAS Pensacola, said the project is part of the Secretary of the Navy’s Strategy for Renewable Energy and provides an opportunity to assist local and state industry partners in understanding the Department of the Navy’s overall strategy and commitment to renewable energy.
“This project will provide a potential benefit to the U.S. Navy in providing energy security during outages to allow seamless operation of our critical assets,” Hoskins said.
NAS Whiting Field’s commanding officer Capt. Todd A. Bahlau addressed the benefits of the solar projects.
“NAS Whiting Field is excited to participate in the Secretary of the Navy’s plan to invest in renewable energy to diversify the Navy’s energy sources,” Bahlau said. “This is a win-win for everyone involved and another example of the tremendous partnerships between the military and the leaders of Northwest Florida.”
The Air Force, also striving to meet new federal renewable energy and energy conservation goals, is excited to get the project started.
“This project helps meet the DoD goal of 25 percent renewables by 2025 and the Air Force’s energy goal of 1 gigawatt of on-site capacity by 2016,” said Brig. Gen. David Harris, 96th Test Wing commander.
The Air Force Civil Engineer Center’s strategic asset utilization division chief Dave Funk highlighted how the solar facilities will not only benefit the community, but will make good use of Air Force property.
“This project exemplifies how a regional utility provider like Gulf Power can effectively partner with the Air Force to achieve common renewable energy and asset-optimization objectives,” Funk said. “The proposed agreement is expected to optimize the value of 240 acres of non-excess Air Force real estate through the development and operation of a ground-mounted solar photovoltaic facility, which will directly benefit Gulf Power, Eglin Air Force Base, and the local community.”
With both Gulf Power and Duke Energy Florida backing solar power in Florida, not even FPL will be able to hold out for long.
The sun is starting to rise on the Sunshine State.