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Ogdensburg’s yard waste will become renewable energy

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OGDENSBURG — The city’s broken tree limbs and branches and shrubbery no longer will be piled up and buried in the former municipal landfill on outer Champlain Street.

Instead, an Albany-area renewable energy company will haul the public works-collected yard waste at no charge to its newly acquired cogeneration plant, where it will be converted to wood chips.

ReEnergy Holdings LLC, Latham, owns the former coal-burning Black River Generation Facility at Fort Drum. The city plans to give 8,000 to 10,000 tons of yard waste this year to the 60-megawatt facility — renamed ReEnergy Black River — so the company can generate green energy.

The alternative, according to city Public Works Director Kit W. Smith, is a dead end.

Literally.

“It’s all hard fill,” Mr. Smith said Thursday. “Basically, we buried it.”

But burial can go only so far until space runs out.

“We prefer to use it in a productive way,” Mr. Smith said.

According to the ReEnergy website, the plant will be capable of producing approximately 400,000 megawatt hours of electricity each year, enough to supply the power needs of more than 50,000 homes.

“The facility could be a secure and reliable source of renewable energy to satisfy 100 percent of Fort Drum’s electricity demand,” the website said. “ReEnergy plans to convert the primary fuel source to sustainably harvested local biomass, investing millions of dollars to renovate the facility and develop a state-of-the-art producer of green energy.”

And the city, Mr. Smith said, rids itself of thousands of tons of decaying wood at no cost.

“It’s a win-win situation for everybody,” he said.

City Manager John M. Pinkerton said Friday another firm wanted a fee to chip the wood and haul it away.

“It’s better than paying for it and better than losing our landfill,” he said.

ReEnergy will collect the city’s yard waste in June and again next fall.

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