Landfill-gas-to-energy facility being developed in South Carolina

Developers will build plant at Republic Services’ landfill in Union County.

March 28, 2014
REW Staff

The utility company Lockhart Power Co., Lockhart, S.C., and the investment firm Pacolet Milliken Enterprises Inc., Spartanburg, S.C., have announced plans to develop, own and operate a landfill gas-to-power renewable energy facility at Republic Services’ Upstate Regional Landfill in Union County, S.C. The project will use methane gas captured from the landfill as fuel to make electricity.

Lockhart Power has formed a 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.

“Before it was publicly announced, the project was referred to as Project Midas because it turns trash into figurative gold,” says Bryan Stone, COO of Lockhart Power. “We have proven with our Wellford (S.C.) renewable energy project that this type of generation is not only feasible, but effective and economical. 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 landfill gas-to-energy facility in Wellford, through a partnership with Spartanburg County. The Wellford project, which began production in 2011, transports a portion of the landfill gas by pipeline for use in Milliken & Co.’s Dewey plant in Inman, S.C., and uses the remaining landfill gas on site for power generation.

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

“This new gas-to-energy facility will be a substantial addition to our energy division under Lockhart Power,” says Ralph Walker, senior vice president of energy for Pacolet Milliken. “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.”

The air permitting process for the facility is expected to be completed by May 2014, allowing construction to begin in June. The facility is anticipated to be operational by the end of 2014. It will produce 3,200 kilowatts of electric power.

“We are pleased to partner with Lockhart Power and Pacolet Milliken to make productive use of the naturally occurring methane produced by the landfill, which is currently flared, or burned,” says Jamey Amick, area president of Republic Services. “Any time a waste material can be harnessed to produce energy, it’s an incredible opportunity.”