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N.Y. Power Authority and Tupper Lake Mayor Strader Announce Contract Award For Biomass Generator Study

Connie Cullen                           
(914) 390-8196

October 25, 2005


ALBANY—Sandra Strader, mayor, Village of Tupper Lake, and Timothy S. Carey, chief operating officer (COO), New York Power Authority (NYPA), today announced that EPRI, the Electric Power Research Institute, was awarded the contract to do a study—the Tupper Lake Wood Utilization Cogeneration Project Feasibility Study—on the use of biomass generation to produce electricity for Tupper Lake.  

Biomass is any organic material, for this project it is wood, available on a renewable or recurring basis.  Energy produced using biomass is recognized as a type of renewable energy.  Wood biomass is also referred to as woody biomass.

“The Power Authority is committed to exploring the use of renewable energy resources as Governor George Pataki has championed their use to keep the air cleaner and lessen New York’s dependence on fossil fuels,” said NYPA COO Carey.  “Bringing this EPRI team on the project means we have some of the best and brightest minds in New York and the nation working with NYPA to help improve electric reliability in the Tri-Lakes Region.”

“Awarding this contract to thoroughly study the use of wood as a renewable energy source for Tupper Lake is one of the continuing advances we, along with the Power Authority, are making to address the critical energy needs of our community,” said Mayor Strader.  “Over recent months we have been working closely with the Power Authority on energy audits and on plans for a new line to improve reliability of electric service which, along with this study, show enormous progress towards achieving an even brighter future for Tupper Lake.”

The EPRI proposal was selected due to the strong team of industry experts it assembled to conduct the feasibility study.  The team consists of EPRI, The Antares Group, Joseph Technologies Corporation (JTC) and State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF).  The project team houses the expertise of leaders in local biomass resource assessment and biomass project evaluation (Antares Group and SUNY ESF), district energy project development and execution (JTC) and leverages the technology evaluation capabilities of EPRI. 

The Village of Tupper Lake is a municipal electric system which receives its full requirements (supply) of electricity from NYPA.  This electricity is delivered (transmitted) by National Grid.  Municipal officials and interested citizens in the Tri-Lakes Region, which also includes Lake Placid and Saranac Lake, requested the assistance of NYPA and National Grid to help alleviate the Region’s electric reliability problems due to severe winter weather and increasing electric demand. This resulted in the Tri-Lakes Agreement announced in November 2004 by Governor Pataki. 

“The technology of wood cogeneration is advancing rapidly and this local source of generation potentially offers Tupper Lake the benefit of more reliable electric service, especially during peak periods in the winter,” said John Bouck, electric superintendent, Village of Tupper Lake.

NYPA will coordinate the responsibilities and progress of the feasibility study by working with the EPRI team and the Village of Tupper Lake. The scope of work for this study includes Electric and Thermal Load Analysis, Wood Resource Assessment, Wood Conversion and Prime Mover, Preliminary Plant Design, Economic Evaluation and Final Report.  The EPRI project team is considered extremely strong in all of the critical areas of importance.

Antares Group of Washington, DC and SUNY ESF located in Syracuse will complete the fuel resource assessment.  They are ideally suited to complete this assessment as they collectively have a large amount of experience in the Tri-Lakes Region and New York State.  Antares Group and SUNY ESF have been directly involved with the supply of biomass to existing coal-fired generating stations in New York.

EPRI, headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, will evaluate biomass gasification technology while visiting gasification projects worldwide installations.  As a result, EPRI will discuss gasification operations with those having first-hand experience at different installations. 

JTC from New Jersey is well familiar with Tupper Lake and has developed a number of municipal heating projects in New York, throughout the United States and internationally.

The study will evaluate the availability of wood biomass from sustainable sources of wood residue in and around Tupper Lake, the Adirondack Park and surrounding areas.  Wood residue sources to be studied include unadulterated wood, such as forestry residue, utility clippings, saw mill and furniture manufacturing residues.

The study would also evaluate combustion methods such as direct burning and gasification.  Wood gasification holds the promise to be significantly cleaner than wood burning in boilers.  It has been shown to result in cleaner combustion, and produces substantially less ash and particulate matter than other wood-burning processes for producing electricity.

In July 2005, NYPA issued a bid solicitation for the Tupper Lake Wood Utilization Cogeneration Project Feasibility Study.  The conclusions drawn from this feasibility study, when completed, will provide answers necessary to evaluate future expenditure decisions related to the development of the Wood Utilization Cogeneration Project.  It is expected the feasibility study will be completed within a year.

The Tri-Lakes Agreement includes a commitment by NYPA and Tupper Lake to implement on-site generation projects such as the biomass generation to further economic development opportunities there. 

Another element of the Tri-Lakes Agreement is the Tri-Lakes Reliability Project.  NYPA and Niagara Mohawk are currently involved in plans to license and build a new 46 kilovolt power line into Tupper Lake to improve the reliability of the limited electric system in the Region.