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Upgrade takes jolt out of energy cost

Process nets savings on electricity for plant

July 17, 2011
By MICHAEL ANICH , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - The Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility's new cogeneration process being used as part of the facility's $10.3 million upgrade resulted in more than $200,000 in electricity savings for the first six months of this year.

The sewage treatment plant first reported in November it was starting to generate its own power as part of the upgrade. The energy self-sufficiency process -resulting in less National Grid service - was built into the upgrade.

The upgrade included construction of a dissolved air flotation facility, installation of a 200,000-gallon whey storage tank, two 350-kilowatt generators, a third belt press and a digester thickener. There is a combined heat and power program at the sewer plant, a process that allows renewable clean power to generate enough electricity on the site to meet power needs.

Plant Manager George Bevington gave the Gloversville-Johnstown Joint Sewer Board a report Wednesday night on how cogeneration involving the new engines in going this year. He said the plant's electricity bills are showing a "dramatic decrease."

He said the plant purchased 333,626 kilowatts per month of National Grid electrical service during the first six months of 2010, resulting in a $234,029 bill to the plant. He said the plant purchased only 57,626 kilowatts per month of such electrical service the first six months of this year, resulting in a $31,188 bill to the plant. The net result was a $202,841 savings in the plant's electricity bill, he said.

"As advertised, the system is doing what we anticipated," Bevington said.

He said savings might slow down a bit in the next few months, but "we should have a substantial savings going forward."

Bevington said the new cogeneration system also has worked well under all environmental conditions.

"We've had some pretty good success during some of this pretty rough weather the past month," he said.

Board member Robert Abel suggested the plant have Maintenance Supervisor Jim McMillan use a meter to better quantify how much kilowatt power the sewer plant is actually using.

But Bevington said that will be accomplished anyway as part of the new SCADA - or Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition - system the plant will be installing later this month as part of the overall upgrade. He said SCADA is a computer system that gathers real-time utility data around the clock.

"SCADA is getting closer to being a reality," Bevington said.

He said the plant purchased a personal computer, and a 42-inch monitor has arrived for the system, which is "getting closer to being a reality."

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at



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