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Pantelides resurrecting idea of Energy Park for City Dump

| March 18, 2014, 01:20 PM | 0 Comments

SolarIn his guest column in The Capital, Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides stated that he would be revisiting the idea of creating a renewable energy park on the grounds of the currently abandoned City dump on Route 450.

As Pantelides wades his way though the politics of managing Annapolis, he is finding that promises made are easier than promises kept. In Jack Lambert’s article this weekend it appears that Pantelides may have had a change of course in regards to the development of Crystal Spring Farm–a critical campaign point in the election that saw him best incumbent Mayor Josh Cohen by a handful of votes.

Pantelides’ budget does not propose any increase in taxes; but it also does not include any reduction in water fees (another campaign promise) or a return to more frequent trash pick up (another campaign promise). He does propose layoffs, position eliminations and furloughs and leaves the door open for increasing taxes and fees in the future.

The construction of Crystal Spring, according to a recent worksheet provided to Eye On Annapolis could net the City more than $5.7 million in fees to the City. The Annapolis Renewable Energy Park, originally proposed in former Mayor Ellen Moyer’s term, could realize the City an additional $750K to $1M a year in addition to taking the burden of maintenance off of the City’s Hands.

Pantelides said, “The AREP is a potentially lucrative public-private partnership project which would transform the liability of an environmentally challenging liability of the old City Dump into a lucrative asset of a green energy park.  I have assessed the reasons for the unsuccessful attempts by the City under the previous two administrations, and conclude that there is ample reason to explore re-procurement of the AREP this year.  The AREP project  proposed in 2009 may have fetched $750,000 in annual cash payments to the City and costs avoided, perhaps higher.”

Pantelides had included money in this year’s budget to fund a market study on project and is prepared to move forward swiftly if the market study indicates that the project is viable.

The last project got so far as the City Council before they killed it.  The lowest bidder was likely the most qualified, but did not have the resources to fund a bond for the project. The second bidder was in a financial position to fund the bond for the project. However, the Council threw a wrench in the works when they rejected both and suggested the competitors form a partnership and work together and come back to the City.

Bob Agee,  was the City Administrator when the first project was presented and he encouraged the Council to move foreword.

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The concept of a renewable energy park is to take natural resources (trash and its byproduct–methane) and convert it into usable energy.  Currently, the City Dump is essentially abandoned and they City does maintain it and periodically burns off the built up methane into the atmosphere.  With the park, technology may be installed to provide solar power, methane and biomass energy–of course any specific technology is dependent on the proposal submitted. Biomass energy enables organic compounds (leaves, twigs, branches) to be converted into energy.  This energy would be placed back into the energy grid and presumably partially sold to BGE or Constellation Energy. Part of the energy could be redirected to completely power the City’s nearby water treatment plant.  Estimates suggest that the AREP could provide energy to the grid equivalent to the usage by the entire City. This does not mean free electricity. In broad terms, the City could recoup part of the dollar value of the electric bills currently paid by city residents.

In the old proposal, the City looked to gain $120,000 in annual rent, $250,000 in annual supplemental rent after 5 years, and then 1% of energy sold back to the grid.  In terms of cost savings, the City would save approximately $250,000/year on maintenance, staffing and upkeep of the City Dump, plus there would be some savings advantages for not having to handle the processing of the yard/wood waste and disposal.

Two of the most significant projects of similar scope are in Hawaii and in nearby New York.

Kalaeloa Renewable Energy Park, one of Hawaii’s largest solar energy generation facilities, opened December 23, 2013 and immediately began generating electricity for Hawaiian Electric customers on Oahu. Following four years of development and construction on a 20-acre property, the 5 megawatts solar park was commissioned on November 22.

On November 25, 2013, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the City’s largest solar energy installation to be built on 47 acres of land at Freshkills Park (former NYC garbage dump) on Staten Island. SunEdison to finance and construct a facility generating 10 megawatts of power.



Category: NEWS

About the Author - John Frenaye

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for nearly 25 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news–and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009.

John’s background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.

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