City of Jackson’s Energy and Sustainability Challenges

Posted on August 2nd, 2012 by
   

In Jackson, Tennessee we are fortunate that electricity, water, sewer, and gas all operate under the auspices of a single entity, the Jackson Energy Authority (JEA). Our citizens expect and JEA delivers quality utility services. Obviously, having an efficient and affordable energy supply is critical to the city’s success.

JEA is currently engaged in several new and ongoing projects. Through regular marketing efforts, JEA is helping customers conserve energy.  To promote alternative forms of energy, customers are encouraged to participate in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Green Power Switch Program.  This program allows customers to purchase energy from alternative sources such as wind and solar without the expensive infrastructure costs. Jackson is pleased to have a 1mW solar farm that is a source of power for TVA.  Technology will be installed that will allow the electric system to better manage its peak demand.  Not only does this technology reduce the need for energy production, but also it saves money for our customers.

JEA is also planning to convert a portion of its fleet to run on compressed natural gas.  This will reduce the need for oil consumption, use a domestic environmentally friendly resource, and reduce annual operating costs.  To further support and help our community, we are educating and encouraging local fleet owners to use compressed natural gas rather than diesel or gasoline.

Our wastewater system actively looks for waste to convert to energy solutions.  JEA currently captures methane from the wastewater treatment process, and uses it as heat in the treatment process.  Additionally, the wastewater treatment plant is testing a process that will convert sludge produced at the plant to fertilizer.

Finally, we are researching gasification technology, which has the potential to convert sludge to a combustible gas that can be used for heating or generating electricity.  These projects help both the environment and reduce energy costs of our customers.  In short, JEA’s strategy is to keep energy costs low enough to make Jackson attractive to new industry and to provide an affordable place to live and work. This is accomplished by responding to customer needs, leveraging new technology, and promoting energy efficiency from the generator to the end user.

 

Written by Mayor Jerry Gist of Jackson, TN.

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