PennFuture continues to test wind capacity at Hazleton City Authority’s treatment plant, off Arthur Gardner Parkway in Hazleton Heights. But the testing is nearing completion.
HCA Manager Randy Cahalan said the testing is winding down and the wind capacity at the authority’s land is better than first thought, which could bode well for savings on HCA’s electric bill.
Cahalan said the testing was going slowly but is moving along, adding that PennFuture is analyzing data collected by the wind-testing tower.
In August, HCA signed a letter of intent to allow the state agency to test the amount of wind power behind the authority’s administration building.
The letter also endorsed the application of Penn Future, a non-profit organization, for a state grant to fund the undertaking.
The testing is being done to see if there is enough wind to generate a portion of HCA’s energy on-site.
At the Aug. 18 work session, Robert M. Markee of Community Energy, who is also involved in the undertaking, said that “in the best-case scenario,” the turbine would provide electricity at a rate lower than PPL Electric Utilities. Markee added, in the worst case, the turbine would provide electricity at the same rate as PPL.
Under the original plan, HCA would pay a locked rate for 10 years for turbine electricity. That rate would not be affected by a rise in other energy costs.
The wind turbine energy would be used in combination with electricity provided by PPL.
At Thursday night’s meeting, Cahalan also told the board that batteries for the emergency generator at the treatment plant need to be replaced.
He said the batteries have a 15-year lifespan and have reached that mark. HCA has two options: to replace the batteries with the same product or to switch to LED batteries.
Cahalan said LED batteries only have a three-year life span. Also, there is a cost involved in disposing of LED batteries, Cahalan said.
Though the current batteries are more expensive, Cahalan said they would be the better choice. HCA Chairman Phil Andras asked Cahalan to get price quotes on the batteries preferred by Cahalan and the maintenance group that takes care of the generator.
Board Member Dick Ammon also suggested Cahalan look into solar energy to charge the batteries.
By Amanda Christman
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