January 19, 2017
Executives from Gulf Power and Coronal Energy, powered by Panasonic, joined officials from Eglin Air Force Base and Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola for the installation of the first two solar photovoltaic panels on two large-scale solar projects. The projects at Eglin Air Force Base and NAS Pensacola’s Navy Outlying Landing Field (NOLF) Saufley, along with a third project at NAS Whiting Field’s NOLF Holley, comprise the Gulf Coast Solar Center Portfolio.
When complete, the combined facilities will be among the state’s largest solar projects with approximately 1.5 million solar panels capable of generating up to 120 megawatts of electricity, enough energy to power approximately 18,000 homes annually.
“These projects exemplify our commitment to leveraging strong partnerships and innovative solutions to develop large-scale solar projects that deliver clean energy to a diverse set of customers,” said Jonathan Jaffrey, chairman and CEO of Coronal Energy™. “The collaborative approach to the development of the Gulf Coast Solar Center Portfolio represents a smarter approach to pursuing solar energy, and may serve as a model for future public/private sector renewable energy initiatives.”
Coronal Energy, powered by Panasonic, is constructing the three facilities on Department of Defense property in Northwest Florida – one at NAS Pensacola’s NOLF Saufley, one on NAS Whiting Field’s NOLF Holley, and one at Eglin Air Force Base. Construction began at all three locations in November 2016 and are expected to become operational during the summer of 2017.
Stan Connally, Gulf Power chairman, president and CEO, pointed out that the solar projects are vital to building a sustainable energy infrastructure while easing the impact on the environment. They also help further diversify the company’s energy portfolio and support the mission to provide safe, affordable and reliable energy to its Northwest Florida customers.
“We’re proud to work with Coronal Energy, powered by Panasonic, the Air Force and the Navy as we work toward meeting critical energy needs as well as the energy needs of the region,” said Connally. “Gulf Power is investing in smart renewables such as these solar projects that make economic sense for our customers as part of a balanced energy mix.”
Jim Doyle, president of Panasonic Enterprise Solutions Company, added: “Solar is the world’s fastest-growing energy source. With these projects, Gulf Power — in cooperation with the Air Force and the Navy — takes a big step forward adding clean, resilient, domestic renewable energy to its portfolio for the benefit of its customers. They’re showing how going solar translates to smart business and smart government, not just for residents and businesses in Florida but also across the country.”
“We continually seek to balance the military mission with the stewardship of this environmental national treasure and look for innovative ways to excel in both arenas,” said Col. Craig Johnson, 96th Civil Engineer Group commander at Eglin AFB. “This project does that by leasing 240 acres of underused land to Gulf Power and in turn Eglin AFB will receive lease payments we will use to improve the energy resiliency of our installation. At the same time, the project will provide a substantial amount of clean energy back to Eglin and the surrounding community.”
“It’s rewarding to be part of this project, which will provide an opportunity for us to assist local and state partners in understanding the Department of the Navy’s overall strategy and commitment for renewable energy,” said NAS Pensacola Commanding Officer Capt. Christopher Martin.
“It is gratifying to be part of a partnership that truly is beneficial to everyone,” NAS Whiting Field Commanding Officer Capt. Todd Bahlau stated. “This effort will develop cost-effective, renewable sources of energy, which will also enhance the Navy’s energy security. Our team is excited to play a role in this collaborative project.”
Energy produced by the projects will serve Gulf Power customers across Northwest Florida and were unanimously approved by the Florida Public Service Commission in April 2015. Together, these facilities will be among the largest photovoltaic arrays in Florida and have the potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 3.5 million tons over 25 years. Combined they will be one of the largest solar projects east of the Mississippi.
The solar facilities are estimated to generate the following amounts of energy:
· NAS Pensacola’s NOLF Saufley: approximately 600,000 photovoltaic panels with a capacity of 50 megawatts producing enough energy to power nearly 7,400 Escambia County homes for a year
· NAS Whiting Field’s NOLF Holley: approximately 475,000 photovoltaic panels with a capacity of 40 megawatts producing enough energy to power nearly 6,100 Santa Rosa County homes for a year
· Eglin Air Force Base: approximately 375,000 photovoltaic panels with a capacity of 30 megawatts producing enough energy to power nearly 4,500 Okaloosa County homes for a year
Courtesy photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.
January 17, 2017
Former U.S. astronaut Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the surface of the moon, died Monday at age 82.
Cernan was a Navy captain that trained in Pensacola. NASA chose him and 13 other astronauts for the pioneering Apollo program, created after President John F. Kennedy announced the goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. When Cernan stepped off the moon in December 1972, he left his footprints and his daughter’s initials in the lunar dust.
“He was very kind and enjoyed sharing his knowledge and experiences,” pilot David Gehman of Atmore said. Gehman and Cernan met a few years ago at a Learjet pilot meeting Kansas. They became friends, years after Gehman had watched him blast off of Kennedy Space Center on Apollo 17.
“He was a Navy pilot, and flew out of Pensacola. He was familiar with Atmore. We talked about having him come to Atmore but it never happened,” Gehman said.
“He was very kind and enjoyed sharing his knowledge and experiences.”
Cernan flew on Apollo 10 in May 1969, the final test flight before the actual moon landing two months later.
He was part of the last manned moon mission in December 1972 — Apollo 17.
“We had a lunar rover, we were able to cover more ground than most of the other missions. We stayed there a little bit longer. We went to a more challenging unique area in the mountains, to learn something about the history and the origin of the moon itself,” Cernan later recalled of the mission.
Just before leaving the moon as the last man to walk on it, Cernan said man would return there one day “with peace and hope.”
He was still waiting at the time of his death. Speaking on the 40th anniversary of the last mission, Cernan said he is not proud to be the last man to walk on the moon because of a fading interest in space travel.
“It is tremendously disappointing that here I am, 40 years later, and still hold that title,” he said.
Cernan retired from the Navy and NASA in 1976 and later did television commentary for early space shuttle flights.
Pictured top: Cernan on the moon. Pictured bottom: Cernan in the lunar module of Apollo 17. NASA photos, click to enlarge.
January 15, 2017
Local middle and high school equestrian teams from Trinity Farm have qualified for regionals.
The teams compete in Interscholastic Equestrian Association “IEA” horse shows. in which they “blind ride” — drawing a horse to ride at the event ratheru than riding their personal horse. The show judges the riders primarily on their abilities for the chance to win college scholarships.
The regional competition will be held February 5 at the Escambia County Equestrian Center.
Pictured: Trinity Farm of Northwest Florida team members (front center) Paige Keener, (first row, L-R) Lexi Bryant, Megan Gulsby, Sarah Hodge, Olivia Stone, (back) Morgan Mickel, Tessa Walsingham, Lilli Bonner, and Athena Critides, Photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.
January 14, 2017
The Jay High School cheerleaders were among 10 squads from across the country that performed during the halftime of the recent Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
The squad, coaches, and parents spent five days and four nights in the city practicing for the half time performance, participating in the Sugar Bowl parade, touring the Mardi Gras World, and enjoying a Cajun Barn Dance.
Squad members are seniors Savannah Seevers, Madelyn Godwin, Rebecca Boutwell, Courtney Walther, Marisa Kirkland, and Meghon Mayo; juniors Jescie Roberts, Morgan Floyd; sophomores Carsen Arrant, Maci Holt, Jaeci Cooley; freshmen Catrina Crandall and Carly Willis. Coaches Junia Fischer, Heather Willis and Assistant Principal Carlise Griffin also attended.
Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.
January 13, 2017
The following students were named to the second nine weeks honor roll at Bratt Elementary School:
AB HONOR ROLL
Kindergarten – A Honor Roll
First Grade – A Honor Roll
Second Grade – A Honor Roll
Third Grade -A Honor Roll
Fourth Grade – A Honor Roll
Mary Catherine Hughes
Fifth Grade – A Honor Roll
Bentley Van Pelt
AB HONOR ROLL
1st Grade – AB Honor Roll
2nd Grade – AB Honor Roll
3rd Grade – AB Honor Roll
4th Grade – AB Honor Roll
5th Grade – AB Honor Roll
January 13, 2017
Pictured: A full moon rises behind a tree as seen on Pine Barren Road in Bratt on January 12, 2017. NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.
January 12, 2017
Molino Park Elementary School was one of 30 schools across the state honored by Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam Wednesday.
Putnam announced Molino Park was among the schools that earned HealthierUS School Challenge designations during December, bringing the current total of Florida’s HUSSC schools to 249. Under Commissioner Putnam’s leadership, the number of certified HUSSC schools has increased from 27 schools in 2012, when the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services assumed responsibility of the state’s school nutrition programs.
Other Escambia County schools earning the designation included CA Weis, Ferry Pass, Holm, Myrtle Grove and O.J. Semmes elementary schools.
“It’s great that these schools are providing their students the nutrition and physical activity needed for academic success,” said Putnam. “Our goal is to continue working with schools to increase the amount healthy choices offered to Florida’s students.”
January 12, 2017
Trees available will include crabapple, redbud, shumard oak and river birch.
The event will be held from 10 a.m. until noon at the Davisville Community Center at 10200 Highway 97.
January 11, 2017
Jim Allen Elementary School has named Students of the Month for December. They are Presley Langeck (left) and Laney Jackson. Courtesy photo for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.
January 10, 2017
Recently at the FFA Sub-District Career Development Events, the following students and teams placed from Northview High School and Ernest Ward Middle School.
1st Place in Extemporaneous Public Speaking- Mitchell Singleton, Northview (pictured top)
Scroll down for additional winners.
1st Place in Safe Tractor Operations- Donnie Dixon, Northview (above)
3rd Place in Parliamentary Procedures- Northview High School (above)
3rd Place in FFA Opening and Closing Ceremonies- Ernest Ward Middle School (above)Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.