Panasonic’s Coronal Energy and Gulf Power complete massive US military solar project in Florida
Independent power producer and renewable energy solutions company, Coronal Energy, powered by Panasonic, has completed the largest combined portfolio of solar energy facilities for the US Department of Defence in partnership with Florida’s Gulf Energy.
The solar installation, named the Gulf Coast Solar Centre, is now live, spanning 942 acres across three US military sites in northwest Florida, providing 120MWac.
“We work hard every day to provide our customers with valuable and diverse energy solutions, and it’s a special occasion to see the vision we had for this project come to life today,” said Gulf Power CEO Stan Connally.
“Adding clean, affordable energy to our energy grid through the innovative public-private partnership that enabled the completion of all three of the portfolio’s solar facilities is a proud accomplishment for Gulf Power, and a significant milestone for the local economy, our customers and the environment.”
The largest of the three facilities is located in Pensacola, comprising of 600,000 solar modules that would provide enough energy to power 7,400 homes annually. In total, the combined 1.5mn solar panels will be enough to power 18,000 homes annually, making the combined energy portfolio the largest solar project east of Mississippi.
“Considering the scale of the Gulf Coast Solar Centre portfolio, collaboration between our team and the like-minded teams at the US Air Force, US Navy, and Gulf Power has been an essential element of our success in developing these projects,” Jonathan Jaffrey, CEO of Coronal Energy, commented.
“The result is a landmark energy project that represents what is possible when our nation’s military and its leading energy companies like Gulf Power commit to renewables. We are honored to take our place alongside these partners for this historic project.”
This commitment to sustainable energy will help significantly in helping climate change, with potential for the combined energy portfolio to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 3.5mn tonnes in the next 25 years, the same as removing over 670,000 cars from the road in a single year.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.