Gulf Power customers may be surprised to learn that some of the energy they use to wash clothes, cook dinner and power their ever-growing inventory of electronics and smart-home gizmos comes from wind.
At the beginning of 2016, Gulf Power became the leading purchaser of wind energy in Florida. As the utility marks its second anniversary of wind in its mix, it has provided more than 1.7 million megawatts hours of wind-generated energy, enough to power 131,842 houses.
“Two years later, we continue to be the leading purchaser of wind energy in Florida,” said Kimberly Blair, Gulf Power spokesperson. “Wind marked a major step forward in our promise to an efficient and reliable energy future. By using a balanced energy mix that includes smart renewable energy like Kingfisher Wind Farm, our customers can count on us for their energy needs.”
The Kingfisher Farm is among six renewable energy sources that generate 11 percent of Gulf Power’s energy mix. The other renewable sources are three solar farms that make up the Gulf Coast Solar Centers — 1.5 million photovoltaic solar panels on three military bases across Northwest Florida — and the Perdido Landfill Gas-to-Energy facility in Escambia County, Florida.
The benefits of wind are significant. Research from the Department of Energy confirms that producing energy from wind involves zero direct emissions. Wind is one factor that has contributed to Gulf Power reducing greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 50 percent over the past decade.
While wind energy is seen as an emerging green energy source today, it’s been used for thousands of years — propelling boats along the Nile River as early as 5000 BC and turning simple windmills to pump water in China in 200 BC, according to the Wind Energy Foundation.
As of 2017, the United States’ wind power capacity surpassed 82 gigawatts, according to Energy.gov, making it the largest renewable generation capacity in the United States — enough to power more than 20 million average American homes. The projected growth of wind-energy projects is on track to provide 10 percent of the nation’s energy by 2020 alongside $85 billion in economic activity and 50,000 new jobs, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
“Desiring to harness this clean energy, Gulf Power entered into its first wind agreement involving a 178-megawatt portion of the Kingfisher Wind Farm in January 2016. A second agreement involving an additional 94 megawatts was inked in February 2017, for a total of 272 megawatts of wind capacity.WindEnergy
“We are always looking at renewable energy opportunities that make economic sense for our customers,” said Blair. “Gulf Power is leading the way in Florida.”