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Municipal Electric & Gas Alliance

County, University, and Energy Leaders Tour Hydropower Dam

County, University, and Energy Leaders Tour Hydropower Dam

By on Dec 7, 2015


A group of local dignitaries this week toured the Otter Creek Hydro Electric Plan in Glenfield, Lewis County, in an effort to promote innovative renewable energy projects and encourage National Grid and state regulators to speed up their plant’s connection to the electricity grid.

“We are sitting on a May application that was supposed to begin lowering the cost of the county’s electric bills by the summer. A series of unexplained delays on the part of National Grid have us still waiting for those savings to materialize,” said St. Lawrence County Administrator Ruth Doyle.

A March 15th Resolution passed by the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators authorized the county to submit an application to the utility to enable remote net metering credits from the Otter Creek Plant that has been in operation for nearly 30 years. In order for these credits to start, National Grid must complete a simple technical review and approve the application.

Tour attendees included Senator Joseph Griffo, who represents Lewis and parts of St. Lawrence County; St. Lawrence University Vice President Finance and Treasurer Joe Manory; New York State Association of Counties Director Stephen J. Acquario; Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance President and CEO Ron Feldstein, Gravity Renewables Director of Power Marketing Omay Elphick, and Otter Creek Plant Manager Mike Billhardt.

“For reasons beyond our control, the interconnectivity agreement between National Grid and St. Lawrence County remains incomplete,” said the St. Lawrence County Administrator. “So far we have lost $40,000 in energy credits and we are losing more money each day we do not have an approved application.”

“Renewable energy helps protect the environment and is good for economic development, which can have a beneficial impact on our taxpayers. In order for New York State to be a leader in generating energy, I believe we must have a diversified energy portfolio that includes a wide variety of renewable and clean energy,” said Senator Griffo, who is chairman of the Senate Energy Committee.

“St. Lawrence University remains committed to using renewable energy for its power needs and we are delighted to be working with a project to restore a hydro facility on the nearby Deer River that will supply nearly one quarter (25%) of our electrical needs. We’ll be operational early next year, and we urge our utility and state regulators to make sure that we can turn the switch on,” said Joe Manory.

“The plant is licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commisson (FERC), and started providing hydroelectric power in 1986. The delay to interconnect is unexplainable,” said MEGA President and CEO Ron Feldstein.

The New York State Association of Counties is a bipartisan municipal association serving all 62 counties of New York State including the City of New York. Organized in 1925, NYSAC’s mission is to represent, educate and advocate for member counties and the thousands of elected and appointed county officials who serve the public. To learn more, visit www.nysac.org.