POTSDAM An agreement with National Grid has brought Potsdams West Dam hydro project within months of finally generating power, and revenue, for the village.
The agreement focused on how National Grid could quickly and safely disconnect the villages power plant from the main grid in case of a disturbance.
The original plan called for a phone line that would signal the plant to disconnect if a disturbance was detected. Installing such a system would have cost the village more than $130,000. Instead, the village will install a prototype of a new system that will use radio signals instead of a phone line. The new system will cost less than $10,000.
Now that the plan has been established, the village and National Grid will spend the next three to four months making the necessary renovations. All of the other required pieces are already in place, so once this is complete, the power plant can begin working.
Well be right out to the meter within three months, hopefully, Village Administrator David H. Fenton said.
The village is looking into whether to sell the power to National Grid or to see if it can sell it directly to other customers, such as Clarkson University.
Were not sure thats even possible, so were looking at various options, Mr. Fenton said.
If the village does find another customer, it still will need to use National Grids infrastructure, as creating new connections would be cost prohibitive.
Making a deal to sell power to a private organization would have its advantages, as it would allow the village to fix the price of the electricity generated for a long period. By selling to National Grid, the village would be subject to the rate determined by the New York Independent System Operator, a group that monitors power markets to determine costs across the state. The prices determined by the ISO fluctuate daily.
The village plans to sell the electricity generated by the plant to offset the cost of building it and eventually turn a profit. Potsdam is three years into paying off a 20-year loan, at $230,000 annually.