It's a slow but steady change as companies are beginning to utilize renewable sources of energy and that technology could be coming to Fort Drum. ReEnergy Holdings LLC is in the process of turning an old coal plant into a biomass facility on the post. As our Cara Thomas reports, with a little help from the Governor, it could someday supply power to the entire military base.
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- The old coal plant on Fort Drum's military base sat vacant for more than two years. But when ReEnergy Holdings LLC bought the facility, things quickly began to change and plans were made. Plans to transform this old plant into a biomass facility, using left over lumber to generate electricity. But that's not all.
ReEnergy Holdings CEO Larry Richardson said, "Over 300 jobs will be created as a result of this retrofit activity. Thirty-three here inside the plant, but more importantly, outside the plant. Over 100 jobs will be created in the logging community. "
Governor Andrew Cuomo toured the facility on Monday. He says this operation is a perfect example of how the state of New York should be moving forward.
"We've been talking for the last 18 months about making New York open for business again, welcoming economy, generating jobs, jobs, jobs. That's what it's about," said Governor Cuomo.
But there's one thing that makes this renewable energy plant unique. It won't just be supplying energy for the local community, it plans to provide power to an entire military base.
Richardson said, "We're currently working with the Department of the Army to enter into an agreement ultimately to provide 100 percent of Fort Drum's energy needs here."
Governor Cuomo said, "We believe this would be one of the first military bases to contract for power from a plant that is a renewable energy plant.”
Governor Cuomo says he is working with ReEnergy Holdings to bring that agreement to fruition. They'll be sending a letter to Secretary Panneta asking him to facilitate the contract.
Rehabilitation to the plant is underway. ReEnergy officials say they've invested more than 30 million dollars into the project so far. They're hoping to be selling and producing energy by next year.
ReEnergy Holdings officials say they have also signed a contract to sell renewable energy credits to NYSERDA. They say this is the largest contract awarded to a biomass facility in the history of the NYSERDA Renewable Portfolio Standard Program.