Solvay Electric explores alternative energy

In response to its own rising costs, the Solvay Electric Department is exploring alternative methods of producing energy.

Supervisor Director John Montone said he has been working with the Solvay Electric Commission for over a year to investigate additional, more efficient ways to produce energy.

We're looking at alternative energy projects that we would put right into the system to lower our cost, Montone said.

Two of those projects involve harnessing wind and solar power, methods that have been increasing in popularity across the region.

Montone said the department is working with Honeywell to design a utility-scale solar generator, to be installed on Brownfield sites, such as former Allied Chemical plant sites, around the Solvay area.

Brownfield sites are designated by the Enviornmental Protection Agency as real property that may be contaminated by hazardous substances or pollutants, complicating the redevelopment or reuse of the land.

What better place to put alternative energy? Montone said.

Nearly a year ago, solar panels were installed at Solvay Middle School in Lakeland, an example of how alternative energy can be tied into the system. At the New York State Fairgrounds a small-scale windmill stands, and Montone said there are plans to install several larger windmills on the grounds soon.

The department also has plans to begin using biowood, a product composed of wood waste that is converted to electricity through combustion.

Montone said the department and commission are working to develop a proposal for industrial customers to take advantage of the initiatives.

All the initiatives being looked at would be tied directly into the existing system, resulting in decreased usage of New York Power Authority electricty and lower costs to Solvay Electric customers.

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