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Alternative energy systems

Answering geothermal questions

Jackson Energy Co-op member Victor Patel, front, will provide a look at his London home’s geothermal heating system when he hosts an open house this August. During construction, Victor paused for a photo with builder Lonnie Osborne, far left, and HVAC contractors Ken Hughes and Chris Hughes, right. Photo: Brian Lundborg

Jackson Energy Cooperative member Victor Patel’s trying something new to lower his energy bills at his house and he’s willing to share what he’s learned. Visitors at his London home, 122 Blackberry Lane, on August 15 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., will be able to see a geothermal system in action. According to the Department of Energy, these systems can be two to three times as efficient as air-source heat pumps.

Karen Combs, manager of Member Services at Jackson Energy, says, “We wanted to answer our members’ questions about geothermal and let them see a system firsthand. Geothermal uses the constant temperature of the earth to heat and cool your home. It’s like Mother Nature helping to pay your energy bills.”

Landfill gas for electricity
Farmers Rural Electric Cooperative has joined forces with East Kentucky Power Cooperative and the city of Glasgow to extract methane gas from the Glasgow Regional Landfill and use it to generate electricity. Methane gas released naturally as garbage decomposes had been a cause for concern until this new project began.

Instead of wasting the energy contained in methane gas escaping from the Glasgow Regional Landfill by using a flare burner, soon it will be put to good use. Farmers Rural Electric Co-op and East Kentucky Power are building a renewable energy generating plant there to use the gas to operate a Caterpillar engine that turns a generator to produce electricity. When the new power plant is online, the flare burner will be used only occasionally. As the landfill grows and gas production increases, another generator will be added. Photo: Caralyne Pennington

Construction of a power generation plant is under way and it’s expected to produce approximately 1 megawatt of electricity, enough to power about 550 Kentucky homes. The electricity will be distributed through lines owned by Farmers Rural Electric Co-op.

“This project will be a great benefit to our community and exemplifies the power of working together,” says Bill Prather, president and CEO of Farmers Rural Electric Co-op. “The city has resolved its current and future landfill methane concerns, and the cooperative has added a renewable source of energy to its supply. From the outset, the city, our cooperative, and East Kentucky Power Co-op remained focused on the common goal of doing what is beneficial for our community.”

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