ReEnergy Black River interconnection project complete
The ReEnergy Black River biomass power facility has begun to deliver behind-the-meter electricity to Fort Drum, enhancing the post’s energy security by allowing it to be independent from the electrical grid.
The interconnection, a $15-million project that connected the power plant to Fort Drum’s two substations, was required under the terms of ReEnergy Black River’s 20-year renewable energy supply agreement to supply electricity to the post. The interconnection was energized on Oct. 10. “This is not only a significant milestone for our company, but also for Fort Drum and the U.S. Army,” said ReEnergy Chief Executive Officer Larry D. Richardson. “We are proud to be supporting the critically important mission of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division. We also are pleased that this complex project, which required approximately 35,000 worker-hours on site, was completed safely, on time, and within budget.”
The ReEnergy Black River facility, located inside the fence at Fort Drum, has 60 MW of generation capacity. Before it was idled in early 2010 by its former owner, the facility burned coal to produce electricity. ReEnergy acquired the facility in December 2011 and invested more than $34 million to convert the facility to use biomass as its primary fuel, creating new jobs, environmental benefits, and a new renewable energy source for the North Country region. The converted facility commenced operations in May 2013. It employs approximately 30 individuals and purchases biomass from suppliers that employ an estimated 145 individuals to sustainably harvest biomass fuel from local forests. The facility provides all of Fort Drum’s electricity needs, which currently peaks at about 28 MW.The facility began supplying 100 percent of Fort Drum’s electrical load on November 1, 2014. Under the terms of the agreement, ReEnergy was required to build the electric transmission system to directly connect the ReEnergy Black River facility to Fort Drum’s two substations.
Prior to the completion of the system, ReEnergy arranged for bilateral deliveries to Fort Drum’s substations through an energy service company. The facility will continue to sell its excess output to the grid, and the post will keep its ties to National Grid as a backup in case of an outage at the power facility.“This was a project that required the close collaboration of many parties,” said Richardson. He congratulated the ReEnergy team, particularly project director Ainsworth James, and also thanked the primary participants in the project: National Grid; Fort Drum Department of Public Works; U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives (OEI); the Defense Logistics Agency; New York Independent System Operator (NYISO); Eaton Corporation; Northline Utilities; D&D Power; WEG Electric Corporation; Three C Electrical; and Aubertine and Currier LLC.