When Griffiss Utility Services Corporation started up, they made a promise to keep energy rates low. However, as the cost of fuel continued to spike, it became impossible to keep that promise. Now, 13 years later, they've come up with a solution. Our Cara Thomas tells us about Griffiss Business and Technology Park's new environment friendly heat and power facility.
ROME, N.Y. -- For years, the cost of natural gas has been extremely inconsistent. And for many energy companies, this kind of fuel was their only option.
Dan Maneen, President and CEO of Griffiss Utility Services Corporation, said, "That's when we realized we were being held hostage by things out of our control. In particular, fossil fuel prices, geopolitical reasons, hurricanes, etc, etc."
Deciding to take energy costs into their own hands, leaders at Griffiss Utility Services Corporation began exploring other options. They came upon a renewable resource that was not in high demand.
Maneen said, "Wood chips in our local area are very prevalent, very inexpensive and had been used in previous decades but that use had gone away."
In 260 days, 180 New York State construction workers built the new combined heat and power facility. In the past, the plant could only produce low pressure steam, providing heat to more than 60 tenants in Griffiss Business and Technology Park. But now, for the first time, electricity is available as well.
"Now we create steam at 700 pounds per square inch, spin a turbine, an electric turbine, and that turbine makes electricity," said Maneen.
Six to eight truckloads of wood chips, adding up to about 240 tons, will be brought into the facility every day. By using renewable resources like this, Griffiss Utilities leaders said tenants will save about 10 to 15 percent in energy costs and rates will be more stable. But they said they aren't done yet.
He said, "It helps the park, but we'll look at other opportunities to help the park as well. We will consider solar energy other forms of renewable energy. So we're not stopping here, we can grow this project."
Griffiss Park tenants won't have to wait much longer for their new renewable heat and electric systems to kick in. The plant is expected to be up and running by the beginning of October.