LUMBERTON — Robeson County is operating a new generator at the county landfill in St. Pauls that officials say could generate as much as $600,000 worth of power annually.
“Six-hundred thousand dollars,” said Ricky Harris, the county’s interim manager. ‘That’s our goal.”
Harris said that the generator, which was obtained with a $1 million state energy grant a few months ago, taps into the landfill’s methane gas system to produce power that can then be sold to electric companies. Producing the power from methane gas supplements several hundred thousand dollars annually the county has already been generating by collecting the gas and selling it for energy credits.
Harris said that the generator was installed three weeks ago. A land survey has already been done in preparation for a second generator to be added soon, he said.
According to Harris, since the generator has just begun operating, the county hopes to generate about $250,000 from selling power during the current fiscal year that ends June 30. Revenue can be put into the General Fund to be used for any purpose, but Harris said that the county will use the money for operating the landfill.
During Tuesday’s meeting of the county’s Board of Commissioners, the commissioners approved the hiring of two technicians to operate the generator. Commissioner Roger Oxendine, chairman of the board’s Personnel Committee, said the two employees are needed to operate the generator and oversee the county’s power production. A supervisor already employed by the county will add to his duties the responsibilities of administering the power program.
“I’m excited about this generator. It’s a way for us to generate revenue for the county,” Commissioner Raymond Cummings said after the meeting. “Using the methane gas at the landfill to produce power is something I’ve been pushing for the past 10 years.
“This is big news. Combined with the money we have been getting for carbon credits we could be generating as much as $1 million a year. Green is the way to go,” Cummings said.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners also awarded three contracts for construction work at the county’s former Social Services building on Caton Road. Renovations are being done so the site can serve as centralized location for some related county services.
The contracts awarded include: Erickson Acoustics Inc., $29,625 for acoustical ceiling work; Kirk’s Air Control Inc., $61,215 for the purchase and installation of five air conditioning units; and Ricky Morgan Plumbing LLC, $2,475 for plumbing work to isolate and retrofit copper lines and ball valves. Three bids were accepted for each job, with the lowest bid being accepted in each case.
In other business:
— The commissioners granted a rezoning request to Vonnie and Katrina Scott so that commercial vehicles can be repaired and stored on property located on U.S. 74 near Maxton.
— The commissioners granted a conditional-use permit request that will allow Kelly Locklear to open a beauty salon in Saddletree.
— The commissioners granted a conditional-use permit that will allow Jerry L. Monroe, a private investigator, to establish a security and investigative service on N.C. 20 in St. Pauls.
— The commissioners granted a conditional-use permit to Larry F. Evers for the establishment of a rental storage unit business on U.S. 301 just east of Parkton.
— County Attorney Hal Kinlaw announced that anyone interested in applying for the franchise to operate non-emergency convalescent ambulance service in Robeson county must file their application by Tuesday. The current franchise runs out at the end of February, Kinlaw said.
— Reach staff writer Bob Shiles at 910-272-6117 or email@example.com.