Our Energy Supply
Our Renewable Energy Sources
You’ve probably been hearing a lot about renewable energy these days. As our nation looks for solutions to the challenges posed by climate change issues and ever-growing energy use, many people view renewables as a key component in a sensible energy future.
But what you may not know is that Jasper County REMC is already playing a significant role in the development and practical use of renewable energy. It’s true! In addition to the traditional sources of fuel, like coal and natural gas, the electricity that we supply comes from wind, cows, and trash!
Like most co-ops nationwide, we don’t actually generate our own power. Instead, we’re part of a larger association, Wabash Valley Power Association (WVPA), which exists to supply and deliver reliable wholesale power at a stable and competitive price to its member-owners.
Wabash Valley Power provides wholesale electricity to 28 locally-owned cooperatives in five states. In turn, those co-ops deliver power to more than 800,000 people at work and at home. WVPA has made a conscious effort to add renewable, or alternative, energy resources to its power supply portfolio when it makes good economic sense. Those sources include wind, solar, and methane.
Wind power is generated through huge turbines – much larger and taller than the windmills that used to dot the countryside – located in rural areas where wind conditions are optimal. As the turbines rotate, they spin generators that produce electricity with no emissions. WVPA purchases the output of two wind farms – one in north-central Illinois, and the other in Story County, Iowa. An important, yet often-overlooked detail about wind power is that the generators only spin when the wind is blowing! And in the Midwest, that averages about 35% of the days in each year. So while wind power is a clean, renewable resource, it can’t be relied on to serve our electricity needs on a daily basis. In fact, it’s very difficult to ‘plan’ on wind power at all. Instead of planning on how it will fit into our daily fuel mix, it’s more of an extra when we have it.
Biomass -Trash power is electricity that is generated with naturally-occurring gases as its fuel source. WVPA owns thirteen landfill gas-to-energy generators at landfills located throughout the northern half of Indiana, each using the methane produced from garbage to create electricity. The process converts the methane, which would otherwise be wasted, into electricity that’s used at your homes, businesses and farms.
Biomass – Manure power is generated by anaerobic digesters on large dairy farms that capture and convert the gases from animal wastes to electricity. The process is very similar to that used at our landfill gas-to-energy plants. Not only does it create a very clean form of electricity, it uses up a by-product that would otherwise have to be disposed of. It’s a win-win situation!
Our Leading Edge Energy Sources
sgSolutionsTM in West Terre Haute, IN is a gasification facility partially owned by WVPA. The facility transforms a solid, petroleum coke (pet coke), into a synthetic gas that is used to fuel the turbine at the adjacent Wabash River Power Station Unit 1 (WRU1). Pet coke is a byproduct of the petroleum refining process; so once again, we are using a waste product to generate electricity. The other benefit of using this waste product is that it burns hotter than coal which creates more gas which, in turn, generates more electricity than coal. This gas facility, in combination with its’ adjacent power plant (WRU1), is commonly known as clean-coal technology or Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC.) This leading-edge power plant is one of only two currently operating in the United States.
Wabash River Power Station Unit 1 which is located adjacent to sgSolutions, is a combined-cycle power plant, comprised of a 192-megawatt gas turbine and a 100-megawatt steam turbine. The synthetic gas created at sgSolutions fuels this combined-cycle plant.
Our Traditional Energy Sources
Gibson Generating Station in East Mount Carmel, IN was built by Public Service Indiana, now known as Duke Energy. Gibson Station is the third-largest coal power plant in the world and the ninth-largest electrical plant in the United States, and WVPA owns a portion of one of the generating units. Gibson uses Flue Gas Desulfurization or “scrubbers” to scrub the Sulfur dioxide (SO2) from the exhaust flue gases. Most scrubbers use a form of crushed limestone or lime as the sorbent. Reducing the amount of SO2 emitted to the atmosphere helps decrease the formation of acid rain and fine particulates.
Gibson also uses Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCRs) to remove Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) from the exhaust gas stream. The process includes a chemical reaction which converts the NOx into nitrogen and water which reduces the formation of ozone in the lower atmosphere.
Holland Energy LLC is located near Beecher City, IL is a 627-megawatt natural gas combined cycle power plant that WVPA owns in partnership with Hoosier Energy. A combined cycle generating unit consists of one or more combustion turbines and one or more boilers with a portion of the required energy input to the boilers provided by the exhaust gas of the combustion turbines. The units deliver higher fuel efficiency than simple cycle combustion turbine units. The plant’s clean operations fit well with WVPA’s existing coal, natural gas and renewable resources.
Lawrence Generating Station in Mitchell, IN is also owned by WVPA and Hoosier Energy. This natural gas-fired peaking plant is used to supplement other power purchases when our customers use more power than we have anticipated. This circumstance occurs most often because of extreme weather conditions.
Like the Lawrence facility, Vermillion Generating Station in Cayuga, IN is another gas-fired peaking plant. WVPA owns a portion of this plant, which was built and is maintained by Duke Energy Indiana.
Do Your Part to Lower Energy Costs
Conserving energy in your home helps reduce our nation’s demand for fossil fuels. If everyone would take simple steps to save energy at home and at work, we could delay the need to build additional generating plants. Click on the Energy Advisor page to read more about how you can use less electricity..