News – Wooster Water Plant is Energy Neutral

Wooster council to introduce 'electric' quasar partnership

Publication: Wooster Daily Record

October 6, 2014

 

WOOSTER -- Turns out that after almost a year of operations, the partnership between the city and a local green energy company is "electric."

 

A resolution will be introduced at today's City Council meeting to enter into contract with quasar energy group to run an electric line from the municipal sewer plant down the road to the water plant. Joel Montgomery, director of administration, explained that since quasar has started operations on the "solids portion" of the plant, including septage received, they can produce an average of 1,100 kilowatts of electricity, not to mention natural gas.

 

The sewer plant only requires between 600-650 kilowatts to function, so the company and city have been flaring off gas or losing the excess electricity. This resolution to be introduced Monday night would allow quasar to run an electric line down the street to the water plant, along with relocating a generator to the water plant, in order to provide that plant's electricity from quasar's operations at the sewer plant.

 

Montgomery said the water plant requires roughly 450 kilowatts of electricity. The city is still working on providing the excess electricity back into the grid through a process called virtual net metering, but requires a change in state law.

 

The move to provide the water plant's electric needs from the sewer plant would continue to save the city money at the water plant, as has been realized at the city sewer plant. Once quasar's generator at the sewer plant kicked on in December, the city's average electric bill was $30,000 a month. But just in August, he said the city's bill for the sewer plant was $315.

 

Additionally, the city pays AEP roughly $1,500 a month for back-up power in case power goes out, which could then be cancelled once electric is run from the sewer to water plant. The city solicited quotes for the work to trench the new line, but determined quasar to be the most competitive bidder at a price of $238,000.

 

Based on current usage, the city estimates making this cost back in three years. Council will meet today at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, 538 N. Market St., following a public infrastructure committee meeting beginning at 6 p.m.

 

Reporter Steve Huszai can be reached at 330-287-1645 or shuszai@the-daily-record.com. He is @GeneralSmithie on Twitter.