Cogeneration Facility Fact Sheet
When was the plant completed?
Construction on the plant was completed in mid-March. The facility then was tested to ensure proper operation. The facility "went live" on Friday, April 9, the first day of a five-day holiday break at the college.
How many generators does the plant have?
The plant has a total of five generators: three primary generators and two backup generators. The three primary generators are as follows: one 825-killowatt unit powered by landfill gas; one 1,350-killowatt unit that operate on natural gas; and one 770-killowatt unit that operates on natural gas. One 1,350-killowatt natural gas unit and one 2,250-killowatt diesel-powered unit serve as backup generators.
How does the plant work?
Methane produced by the landfill, through the natural decomposition of wastes, is captured and transported via a 3,100-foot pipeline that is buried five-feet deep. The pipeline is located on the outskirts of campus, and traverses an open field. Landfill gas that is recovered with an adequate and efficient collection system is much safer and cleaner than either venting or flaring the gas, as is done currently.
The plant burns a combination of methane and natural gas to power the generators. When the methane levels decrease from the landfill, the facility will switch over to natural gas. The combustion process is clean and complete, and does not produce any odors.
Hudson Valley will pay the city of Troy a total of $200,000 for the methane the city supplies over an 11-year period. Under an agreement with the college, Troy will receive $100,000 in 2005, and $10,000 a year for the next 10 years.
Officials from the college and Siemens Building Technologies also are studying whether to tap into another community landfill in the future for access to more methane, which would be used once Troy's supply is depleted in 14 years. The facility will run exclusively on natural gas if another source of methane isn't identified.
How is the project financed?
Hudson Valley partnered with the city of Troy, Rensselaer County, New York State and Siemens to make the $8.4 million project a reality. The college's 15-year performance contract with Siemens covers all costs associated with the construction, operation and maintenance of the plant.
The financing for the project works like this: Hudson Valley had spent about $1.5 million annually on electricity, and $300,000 per year on natural gas. The new facility has reduced the college's campus electricity bill to zero, but has increased its natural gas costs to $900,000, which results in an overall savings of approximately $900,000 annually in energy costs.
The college will use its annual energy costs savings (approximately $900,000) to pay Siemens for the construction, operation and maintenance of the facility for the length of the 15-year contract. That contract with Siemens also guarantees the college will save at least $1.3 million above and beyond those annual energy costs savings during the first 15 years of the facility's operation.
Once the college's contract with Siemens expires, the cogeneration facility will be paid in full; at that point, the college will decide whether to continue to contract with Siemens for operation and maintenance of the facility. Once the facility is paid for, the college will save about $700,000 to $800,000 annually in energy costs.
Did the college receive any state funding for the project?
The college received a $500,000 grant from NYSERDA for the project, as well as an additional $50,000 NYSERDA grant that will allow the college to install Web-based metering of electrical use of all campus buildings.
In addition, the college and the city of Troy have applied jointly to the state Department of Environmental Conservation to be reimbursed for $2 million of the cost of the project.