Former water treatment plant may house large battery to supplement village electric use

old rusty barn building
The village is negotiating with a global energy company interested in leasing space at the former water treatment plant to house a large battery (photo below) to help supplement the NYSEG power grid serving Stillwater electric customers.

The village is in negotiations with a German-based energy company that would like to lease space at the former water treatment plant site to house a lithium battery the size of a tractor-trailer container.

Representatives from New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) and E-ON, a global electric utility group operating in 30 countries serving Europe and the United States, presented the plans to the village Board of Trustees April 17.

A large NYSEG electric transformer that serves the Town and Village of Stillwater has reached capacity and is in need of a $10.5 million upgrade. The transformer no longer meets local energy demands, especially during peak times in the summer when air conditioners are running and more electric is being used on the grid.

Instead of spending the millions to upgrade the transformer at this time, NYSEG has been looking for lower cost alternatives, seeking ideas from futuristic companies specializing in new energy technologies. E-ON, which stands for Energy On, specializes in “storage energy” and was chosen by NYSEG from 12 proposals from other companies worldwide.

That’s where the battery idea comes in. E-ON’s large lithium battery would have the capability of storing energy to supplement the transformer during peak demand times and recharge itself when demand is low. The battery would be cooled by an air conditioning unit and monitored remotely from a control room in Texas. E-ON has four similar battery storage projects underway — two in Texas, and one each in Arizona and the United Kingdom.

E-ON chose the former water plant site on Ferry Lane because it is located in a remote area away from homes yet close to the energy transmission line. E-ON is looking to lease about 1,000 square feet of the former water plant property and store the battery either in the old plant structure or build a new structure adjacent to it. The battery would be set up on a concrete pad and protected by modern security measures.

The village shut down its water treatment plant near the Hudson River in 2012 because state and federal health officials found traces of PCBs in its wells. Since then, the village has bought its water from the Saratoga County Water Authority and the old water plant and land have been abandoned. The building is used for storage.

The village’s only interest in the project would be the land lease if that comes about. E-ON would enter into a 10-year contract with NYSEG to install and operate the battery for the utility company. After the 10 years expires, NYSEG would re-evaluate the Stillwater transformer situation to determine what further action to take.

In other business April 17, the village Board of Trustees:

  • Passed a resolution hiring Kubricky Construction Corp to pave five village streets this spring and summer. The village will spend up to $77,000 in the current-year budget to pave Lansing Avenue, Nielsen Road and Russell Drive, and up to $72,000 in the 2018-19 budget to pave Independence Row and Carpenter Place. They will also use state highway funds through the CHIPS program. The work is subject to contract review by the village attorney.
    Passed a new policy/guidelines for the installation of “deaf and blind child” traffic warning signs for residents requesting one on their street. The hearing and/or visually-impaired child for whom the sign is to be installed must be under eighteen (18) years of age.
  • Announced the bid opening for work related to replacing the deteriorating Hillside water tank would be held at 2 p.m. on May 9. In February, the Village Board authorized its engineering firm, Adirondack Mountain Engineering, to prepare bid documents for replacing the Hillside water tank with a new glass lined tank. The village buys its water from the Saratoga County Water Authority in Moreau and stores it in this holding tank for local distribution to homes and businesses. The water tank has corroded and reached the end of its service life.
  • Was notified by its engineering firm (AME) that a grant application for replacing the Park Avenue culvert has been completed and submitted to the state in advance of the April 13 deadline. Grant announcements are unlikely until late Summer or Fall. The Park Avenue culvert (bridge), designated a culvert by the state due to the length of its span, stretches over the Schuyler Creek. During a state inspection a few years ago it was determined that the culvert will need to be replaced in coming years.
  • Discussed converting its 20 pole-top street lights from traditional 400 watt to 75 or 80-watt LED bulbs to save energy and on future electric costs. The conversion would cost about $2,000 initially, explained Trustee John Basile, but save about $2,100 a year in village electric costs going forward. LED bulbs have a life expectancy of 10 years and each cost about $80 to $100.