GLENS FALLS — City officials are hoping to save tens of thousands of dollars annually on energy costs through projects that will secure credits through a hydroelectric program and replace lights at East Field with more efficient bulbs.
The Common Council on Tuesday approved entering into a contract with Abbott Energy to replace 128 lights at a cost of about $92,000.
The city plans to use a $50,000 Clean Energy Communities grant it received from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. In addition, the city is using about $3,200 in rebates from National Grid for implementing more efficient lights. That reduces the cost of the project to the city to $36,000.
The new lights would save $102,000 over 15 years, or about $6,800 per year. That means the cost of the upgrades would be paid back in a little over five years, according to documents from Abbott Energy.
The city said previously that it is looking to reduce the electricity supply cost from $2,500 per year to a little more than $500 based upon the 43 nights the lights are used for about six months of the year. That does not include the so-called “demand charge” incurred from turning the lights on. City officials also hope the new lights would spur more use of the field.
Councilman Jim Clark said it is a good project for East Field and the city.
“The potential opportunities for other activities to happen there with the new lights will be beneficial from a revenue side of things, as well as a savings side,” he said. “I think that’s going to be pretty awesome.”
First Ward Councilman Jim Campinell also said it was a great deal.
The council on Tuesday agreed to negotiate a contract with Gravity Renewables to take part in a hydroelectric energy project, which will save the city money.
The arrangement is called “remote net metering.”
Gravity Renewables operates hydroelectric plants through an arrangement with Municipal Electric and Gas Alliance. The city receives a credit for the power produced. The city has to make a $7,500 refundable deposit to become part of the program.
Omay Elphick, director of project development for Gravity Renewables, said previously he anticipated that the city would save $60,000 annually on its electricity costs, based upon conservative estimates.
Second Ward Councilman Bill Collins, who serves as chairman of the Sustainability Committee, said he is excited about the East Field and hydroelectric projects. He said Ben Bernard, who leases East Field from the city, is going to help the city with some of the electrical bills at the field going forward.
“This should be a great savings in the long run of the city. We’ll have new lights at East Field. Getting hydroelectricity from local sources here is just great for us,” he said.
The city originally was going to use only half of the $50,000 grant for the East Field lights and spend the remaining half on a pilot project to install smart sensors on streetlights. Glens Falls is working with the New York Power Authority to install LED lights, so it made more sense to package the sensors idea with that project.
“It was the best use of the money,” he said.
City officials will be assessing lights in the city, determining light levels and deciding where more, or less, lighting is needed, Collins added.