Colonie officials deliver good news about gas

Last weekend's announcement was the third time the town has changed its financial outlook on the plant.

Operating on three internal combustion motors, the plant generates 4.8 megawatts of electricity per hour, enough energy to serve 2,353 households.

For the next 15 years, as part of its contract with IES, the motors will draw upon 1,200 cubic feet per minute of methane over the next 30 years as is.

However, there is a new phase currently under construction at the landfill that will allow more waste disposal.

For seven days a week, 24 hours a day, the three Caterpillar motors burn off the gas. In anticipation of additional gas generation, or landfill expansion, the plant has been designed to take on another motor to boost capacity to 6,800-kilowatt hours.

The same IES computer models that showed the three motors wouldn't be at full capacity for at least another two months, however, also shows that the plant won't need the fourth motor for at least 18 months, maybe not for two years. Stockbridge is expecting that mark to be met before then, he said.

The electricity generated at the plant is sold to the electric grid's day-ahead market, a bid-by-day, supply-and-demand chain. The agreement between IES and the town is to split any gain or loss more than 4 cents per kilowatt-hour, 50/50. Average prices per kilowatt-hour when the plant first went online stood at 7.5 cents per kilowatt. At that rate the plant will pay for itself in less than three years.

So the town has paid roughly $6 million for the plant and little more than $100,000 in new infrastructure and wages to keep it running strong. Outside of payments on the plant, Stockbridge looked at the project as investing $100,000 a year to make $1 million. It won't be long before the town is paying nothing toward construction of the plant and turning an even greater profit, he said, both in the waste that can be taken in through contract and the methane it provides the plant as it breaks down.

"It's doing the right thing and getting paid," Stockbridge said.""

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